Thursday, August 16, 2012

A SeinLanguage Review

Author: Jerry Seinfeld
Publisher: Bantam Books
Release Date: 1993

    There are few people in North America who have not heard of Jerry Seinfeld. He was a wildly popular stand-up comic during the stand-up comedy boom of the 80's and early 90's. He found his way to success the way every comedian dreams of - he honed his craft in the clubs, he got on the tonight show and then got his own sitcom - during those boom years this was every comedians goal. Seinfeld just did it better those before him and it's arguable that no one has done it better since.

    During the early stages of his incredibly successful sitcom "Seinfeld", Jerry capitalized on his fame and released a book filled with his material.(This also became a common step in the stages of success for comedians, Drew Carey, Jeff Foxworthy and Chris Rock to name a few put out books when their popularity hit a certain level). I was only nine years old when this book came out and while I was familiar with Seinfeld the show, I was not familiar with Seinfeld the comedian. When I finally reached that peak age of obsession I decided this would be a book that I would one day own and read however this turned out to be a rather exhausting experience. Trying to find a book that was initially published in 1993 in a genre that the bookstores do not generally offer much shelf space to even the new releases proved to be difficult. I did manage to find a copy in a downtown Toronto bookstore and I promptly read the hell out of this book.

    "SeinLanguage" is as exactly as I described it earlier, it's a collection of Seinfeld's material in written form. If you are even remotely familiar with Seinfeld the comedian, many of the bits will be familiar but there are tons of material that you will likely have not heard. Based upon how many jokes are based off of antiquated technology it's not wonder much of this book felt like fresh material to my eyes. He jokes on answering machines and car phones and these bits do not hit as hard today as they would have when people still used answering machines and car phones. Regardless, "SeinLanguage" is at it's best when Seinfeld is talking about the mundane and ordinary. It's what Jerry has made his career off of and its those bits that still have an element of truth almost twenty years later that will make you laugh out loud or lol. So be forewarned if you plan on reading this on the subway or in a crowed cafeteria.

    Many(or all) of these bits have since been retired by Jerry in his comedy special, "I'm telling you for the last time." and his return to stand-up with all new material was wonderfully documented in the movie "Comedian." I have since had the opportunity to see Jerry perform live and loved his new material. It's very family oriented and geared toward the "joys" of having a family and family responsibilities.

   SeinLanguage is one of the easiest reads I have ever had and truth be told, because I was so excited to read it, I plowed through it which I know affected the timing and delivery of the jokes in my mind. So my recommendation would be to find yourself some time when you can read it slowly and hear Seinfeld reading the book to you. Unless of course you have enough money then just hire him to actually read it to you.

An excerpt from the introduction of SeinLangauge:
"But the pressure is on you now. This book is filled with funny ideas but you have to provide the delivery. So when you read it, remember - timing, inflection, attitude. That's comedy. I've done my part. The performance  is up to you."

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