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The Evolution Of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedy, 1977-2017

Abbey Lenton's picture
Abbey Lenton Joined: 9th February 2017
Last seen: 28th March 2017

From performing small comedy slots to driving Corvettes with the President, Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up really shows how much the world has changed, and how much he hasn't.

After last performing in Australia in 1998, Seinfeld's announcement of a 2017 Australian tour sent fans into meltdown. Tickets sold out in minutes, some even being resold online for upwards of five times the original price. Sweeping in to save the day, his team has announced a third Sydney show on Thursday August 10. To get us even more excited for his return Down Under, we take a retrospective look at Seinfeld's genius comedic career. 

 

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1977: Seinfeld's First Appearance On National Television

 

 

A bespectacled and flare-clad Seinfeld looks like a whole other person, but even through the '70s static his iconic voice is hardly different at all. Joking about his beloved home of Manhattan has played a huge part in his comedy from the very beginning. 

 

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1981: Seinfeld's First Appearance on HBO

  

 

Introduced as Jerry 'Steinfeld', this is still very early days. Talking about the weather always seems to be a last resort for comedians. But the weather report? Now that's fair game. In Seinfeld's first appearance on HBO, his affinity for turning life's most tedious moments - like pyjamas and the post office - into comedic gold is very clearly advancing. 

 

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1989: The First Episode Of Seinfeld

 

 

1989 marked the year when Jerry Seinfeld would evolve from a likable New York comedian to a household name. His self-titled television sitcom Seinfeld was an absolute hit, and the reason most of us feel so fondly for him.

 

Running for only five episodes, the show's first season introduced audiences to a format they were not used to. Beginning each episode with a short stand-up comedy skit and allowing the comedian to play a character based on himself, Seinfeld's sole purpose was to make you laugh. Sometimes at nothing at all. Jerry's knack for seeing the humour in everything was what resonated so strongly with the show's viewers.

 

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1989-98: The Best of Seinfeld's Stand-Up Intros

 

 

Over the show's nine-year run, its format did not change all too much. And nor did the type of things Jerry was joking about. Exploring observational humour at its finest, for nine seasons the show continued to impress audiences with its ability to mock the things most people did not even realise were funny. Concluding with one of TV's most controversial finales of all time, Seinfeld came to its end in 1998, but Jerry Seinfeld did not. 

 

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2007: Bee Movie

 

 

In an odd but just as hilarious change of pace, Seinfeld lent his voice and his humour to the animated family comedy Bee Movie. The film follows Barry B. Benson, an ambitious honey bee who campaigns for bee rights - even taking the human race to court - all while trying to woo his female human love interest. The film is weird, but very funny. Seinfeld was able to incorporate his signature wit into a child-friendly comedy. And ten years on, the internet is still alight with Bee Movie references.

 

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2014: Seinfeld on The Tonight Show

 

 

In more recent years, Jerry Seinfeld has ventured into more creative and modern territory beyond stand-up comedy. Hosting a web series called Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, he has had the opportunity to speak intimately with many celebrities, including US President Barack Obama. But stand-up comedy continues to be a medium he excels at. In a 2014 slot on The Tonight Show, there are parallels to some of his earliest jokes that are hard to miss. 

 

For example, running with a post office arc just like he did in 1981, each joke's bemused delivery is almost exactly alike. What has changed is the technology. 

 

"What is the thing in the post office with the 'Wanted' signs on the walls?... What do they want us to do about it at the post office, write the guy?" (1981)

 

Has now become...

 

"If I could talk to the post office, if I could say to them, 'If you really want to be helpful to us, just open the letters, read 'em, and email us what it says!'" (2014)

 

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Interestingly, it appears that decades on from the start of his career, hardly anything in the world has stayed as consistent as Jerry Seinfeld. Of course, his popularity has soared and the technology he speaks of (and through) has advanced phenomenally. But at the heart of it, he has been and probably always will be simply a comic who loves to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

 

Those lucky Aussie audiences this year can expect to see the same tongue-in-cheek wit and entertained perspective that he has been delivering as early as the 1970s. 

Now that you've done your history homework, head along to Jerry Seinfeld's third and final Sydney show on Thursday August 10. Tickets will be available via Ticketek