Friday, February 26, 2016

Seinfeld and Letterman discuss "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"

This is an hour-long discussion between David Latterman and Jerry Seinfeld about Seinfeld's web show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee". It took place on June 9, 2014 in New York City at the Paley Center for Media. Among other things we learn:
  • the conversation is unscripted
  • they get roughly 3.5 hours of footage for each episode
  • it takes roughly two weeks to edit them down to the 8 to 20 minutes that air
  • Seinfeld himself is in the editing suite the whole time
  • Each episode costs c. $100K
  • The guests are paid
  • it started as an "experiment" – Seinfeld had no idea whether or not it would work
It's an interesting conversation. Who knows, maybe I'll transcribe bits of it one of these days. There's some raw footage and what it gets edited into, which makes it clear that editing is all. Well, not quite all, but it's crucial to turning raw stuff, which would be mostly boring, into a watchable show.

At one point, near the end I believe, Letterman remarks that there are guys in comedy who are much funnier in informal private conversation than they are in their act. This leads Seinfeld to observe that there's a world of difference between being funny and a comedy act. An act is a well-tuned machine and "being funny" is the fuel it runs on – Seinfeld's analogy.

There's also some discussion of the difference between this format and the traditional talk show, that is live and before an audience. Seinfeld argues that "get" things out of a guest that wouldn't happen in a regular talk show. In a regular talk show, with the audience, the comedian would also go for a laugh and that limits what they say.

I could go on.

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Here's another Seinfeld interview:

It starts out with  "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" and goes on to other things.

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