Jerry Before Seinfeld
IMDB rating:
Michael Bonfiglio
Jerry Seinfeld as Himself
Carolyn Liebling as Herself - Jerry's Sister (archive footage)
Jimmy Brogan as Himself
Mark Schiff as Himself
Storyline: Jerry Seinfeld returns to The Comic Strip in New York City for a stand-up set at the club that helped launched his career. Interspersed with never-before-seen material -- including a library of legal pads with every joke he's written since 1975, childhood videos, and more -- Jerry performs jokes that put him on the comedy map.
Type HQ DVD-rip
Resolution 720x400 px
File Size 552 Mb
Codec h264
Bitrate 1249 Kbps
Format mp4
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HQ DVD-rip 720x400 px 552 Mb h264 1249 Kbps mp4 Download

An uncomfortable experience at best
Jerry Seinfeld is no doubt one of the original kings of clean comedy and we remember him for this stand-ups pieces from Seinfeld. Even his special, post Seinfeld was tight. However, this offering from Jerry doesn't even come close.

Jerry is aging and that is no secret. However, it is evident from the lack of energy in his routine. Jerry has tried to transition to the seasoned comic routines that the likes of George Carlin specialized in, where the comics talk about their experiences a lot and crib about everything. However, without the aggression of Carlin and the comic relevance of Louis CK, this particular stand-up is more of a miss than a hit. Most of the special focuses on his experiences and only a few punch lines are funny. And those are the jokes from several previous specials.

Some of the lines lack humor to the extent of making you cringe. People used to say the Jerry's comedy was for the sheep and I was one of them. His mainstream comedy has transitioned into an unfunny narrative that is selectively laced with mild humor.

Watch it for Jerry, if you have to. If you miss it, you wouldn't be missing much. If like me, you want to remember Jerry in a different light, avoid watching at any cost.
It disappointed me big time!
I really like Seinfeld and I love Seinfeld the TV show. But this special really disappointed me simply because most of the jokes(70% in my rough estimate) are old material. I am talking about jokes from Seinfeld the TV show. I do understand that this is special is about his history but I can't help to think he should have included way more new material.
My cameo in Jerry Before Seinfeld
One recent Sunday night, my nephew sent me a text with a screenshot of a photo taken of me in the early 80s, when I worked at the Comic Strip in New York City. That's where Jerry performed as a comedian at the start of his career and the setting for Jerry Before Seinfeld. My nephew was watching the film on Netflix, saw the photo and recognized me immediately. When I saw this picture of 'young me' in his text, I was stunned. At first I wondered how the producers could use it without asking my permission. And then I wondered about the context for which it was used. So I watched the show with this in mind. Until I saw the photo, I laughed a lot (hence the rating of 5). But seeing myself in the context in which the photo was presented made me feel sick. At the risk of writing anything that resembles a spoiler, I won't describe that context but I will say it hurt me profoundly. And the insinuation surrounding the photo is, in fact, untrue. It's deeply egotistical on Jerry's part, in fact. The whole 'bit' feels like it was done at my expense, and that seems pathetic to me. As well, when I think of the millions (Jerry was reportedly paid $100,000,000!)that were spent on this film, and the time and effort spent on retrieving archival tape and photos, the fact that no one sought my permission(and I am not that hard to find) is indicative of the utter disregard that the producers had for me as a person and for their portrayal of me(albeit momentarily) in this film. I think using me this way was shameful and so incredibly unnecessary. The film benefited not one iota from it, and its disregard for another being is deeply uncharacteristic of the Jerry who, at the beginning of his career, sat in my living room and dreamt aloud about having a one-bedroom apartment, a sign that he had 'made it.'
Boring and a bit sad.
Jerry Seinfeld was never funny, that's a fact. His sitcom was funny because Larry David and several other people who are actually funny wrote it. That's how the industry works. Only the worst comedians can have success on television. Romano, Leno, Degeneres, O'Donnell, Roseanne, I could list them all day. Can you name a good comedian who had a sitcom last more than one season? No you can't. If you are surprised this special isn't funny, you haven't been paying attention to life.
The answer to a question nobody asked
"Don't believe in the sixties, the golden age of pop, you glorify the past, when the future dries up" screamed a younger, angrier Bono. Decades later he would prove his own point when he and the boys would decide to embark on what is tantamount to a 'greatest hits' world tour. It is this deliberate milking of nostalgia which seems to be the thinking behind the release of 'Jerry before Seinfeld'.

Rather than a two hour rock concert that blows the back off the world's stadia we are instead given a 62 minute cringe-fest as Jerry showcases the material that got him to where he is today. Quite sadly, 'where he is today' translates into being right back at the Comic Strip in New York where he started doing the same jokes as he did in the seventies.

Let me be frank, this is weak stuff. I would imagine even back in the day this was fairly weak and safe material but as Jerry repeatedly tells us in the cut away sequences that punctuate the act, he didn't care. He didn't care if the audiences didn't like him personally. He didn't care if he bombed. He was living the life he wanted to live as a stand up comedian and that's what mattered most to him.

To some this might be a quasi inspirational sentiment but in Jerry's case it comes off as self indulgent and self satisfied. No more is this accurately highlighted than the sequence where all the pages of all the jokes that Jerry has ever written are stretched out end to end on a city street. Jerry sits in the middle of this, chooses a page at random (please!) and reads out the joke there upon. The sequence ends with Jerry laughing at his own joke and we are returned to the slow death that is the live gig. Children of New York you may not go out and play on your bikes today, Seinfeld is re-living his glory days all the way up the street.

This is not cutting edge stuff, jokes about losing one sock in the laundry never were in my book. There is also a straight, almost verbatim steal of a Billy Connolly joke somewhere around the final third which really annoyed me. With the exception of his cameo role on 'Louis' I've never had any particular love for Seinfeld before this show, now I have no love or respect. I'm sure he'll lose little sleep about it.

Apparently this is one of two planned specials commissioned by Netflix. Even if the next one turns out to be all new material I certainly won't be watching.

This was plain old awful.

The End. (hopefully)
A treat to watch
While I was expecting more of a background to how Jerry got his start into Comedic stardom or even a mixture of that with his act it was still a treat to watch him perform. His stand up as always was first class. We were treated to great material that was effortlessly delivered by the master. I am so glad Netflix gave us this wonderful special amidst all their other shows. Seinfeld is a class act who has distinguished himself in the comedic and entertainment world. He gave us the greatest TV show of all time, Seinfeld and has continued to conquer the stand up and comedic world. We saw some snippets into his life before making it big but it was really a treat to watch him perform and own the stage.
A one hour comedy show with the same charm, but with no new material
I am a big fan of the Seinfeld show and of Jerry's sense of humor. When I saw that he did a new thing for 2017 I absolutely had to see it. But it was nothing new. Just him talking about his childhood and his life in New York for a few scenes, and the rest of this one hour show he just does stand up. Which was fine, only I knew about 90% of the material just by watching the Seinfeld TV show.

And then there is the voice thing. I don't know what happened to him, but at some time he would just raise his voice a little bit and it would come out all shrill and broken. In this show he managed to keep it under control, but not all the time.

Bottom line: I always enjoy Seinfeld, but I expected some more depth in something that was about his personal life and was marketed as "before Seinfeld". I understand he took all the good bits and put them in the TV show and he couldn't have made another show just with the bad material, but still, I wanted to see him write again, not just reminisce about the good jokes he thought of when he was a kid. Maybe next time.
Jerry still got it!
10/4/17. While I never really watched Seinfeld, I did catch bits and pieces when my kids watched it (they are die-hard fans). I decided to watch his stand up and it is pretty much like the series. He is funny, and clean, too. You will enjoy him more if you are native New Yorker. One hour of comedy that is definitely worth the watch.
Justifiably Self-Indulgent
This is more of a retrospective than it is your traditional stand up routine.

Which is honestly one of the highlights of the special. Learning about Jerry's rise in comedy is endearing and genuine enough, and the material he chose was enough to warrant a laugh here and there.

Which, oddly enough, is also one of the special's biggest vices, is how in-genuine it could be at times. There's several moments where the crowd would call out and Jerry would launch into an "improvised" riff, but it all felt really forced. The special would've been fine without it, it was very inessential and kinda hurt the enjoyment a little.

Either way, although not the best, it's still an above average comedy special compared to recent Netflix outings, so give it a watch if it sounds like it'd interest you.
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