Jerry Seinfeld is one of the world’s most rich and successful comedians of all time. For 9 years his TV show “about nothing” dominated television with its self centred characters and focus on trivial matters blown out of proportion. The TV show changed society and North American culture. Reruns still get high ratings and people are always talking about classic episodes of the show. Yada, yada, yada.
But Jerry Seinfeld put on a very different show in Peterborough Saturday night April 26. It was one of only two shows in Ontario on a major American tour with the other show in Kitchener the night before. Why Peterborough? That question was never really answered. He made the point in a question. “Do you know how long I’ve been wanting to come to Peterborough?” His answer “Never! Yet it’s a pleasure”. And it was a pleasure to see and listen to Jerry Seinfeld talking about life and death and relationships in a show that thrilled the packed Memorial Centre. He suggested the audience was there because they had nothing else to do. “That’s why I’m here too. I had nothing else to do.”
The warm-up comic act to Seinfeld was Mario Joiner, a black comedian known for his work doing stand-up comedy and collaboration with both Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. Mario was quick to note the lack of ethnic diversity in Peterborough in saying how friendly a town it was. “I met the black community, all ten of them” he quipped. He joked about Canada’s culture being dominated by Tim Horton’s not Starbucks and how he was directed by Canada Customs to go to Tim’s as a necessary thing to do in Canada before he would be allowed to leave. He said he was staying at the Holiday Inn, “Peterborough’s best 4 star hotel”. He suggested that it was scary there having male maids banging on the door early to wake him up and get him out of the room so they could clean it. He talked of hockey, which of course, is something important in Peterborough.
Jerry Seinfeld also spoke of hockey and that it was the main thing at the “Memorial Auditorium”. He suggested that he could not get them to remove the ice for his show “but when Elton John was here it was a rider in his contract to remove the ice”. Jerry joked about how far north Peterborough is but he made the faux pas of referring in a joke to “donut holes” which went dead on the audience, which being Canadian only knows Tim Bits. Both Seinfeld and Joiner spoke about what it is like getting older. Mario Joiner is 52 and Jerry Seinfeld was about to turn 60 three days after the Peterborough show. Joiner spoke of how people tell him “ you look good for your age.” He questionned “why can’t they just say I look good?” Jerry Seinfeld talked about his own life marrying for the first time at 45 and then having three children. Much of his humour was about marriage, relationships and children. He joked about women’s complex brains and superiority over men. He compared men’s simple brains to the minds of dogs, which explains why the dog is “Man’s best friend”. He spoke of how women can’t be pleased and the need for men to simply avoid conflict and be careful what they say. “Marriage is a chess game. It’s not checkers.”
He spoke of life and death and how humans evolved to standing up. “Now we just want to sit down and we look for a chair to sit down on every time we enter a room”. The only thing better is a bed “Why get out of bed to do anything?” Jerry spoke of hydration and dehydration and the need to drink water constantly. “Once you are thirsty it is too late, you are already dehydrated”. He spoke of energy drinks. “Why would anyone want a 5 hour energy drink” since nobody works a five-hour shift. “Why don’t they just go to bed?’ Seinfeld spoke of how everything we have eventually turns to garbage including some day the “Memorial Auditorium”. He went on and on praising Ebay as a way we can send our garbage to other people who want it. That skit was reminiscent of George Carlin’s infamous skit about “stuff” but was cleaner. There was of course some toilet humour where Jerry criticized the poor design of public toilet cubicles and also about the effects of coffee. He made fun of the people who carry around giant coffee cups and also the people who have stick people versions of their families pictured on their vans.
The crowd of 4,300 was enthusiastic about both comedians and their energetic performances. After an hour and a half show with no intermission everyone seemed content and happy to leave the “Auditorium” without demanding an encore. It was a great Saturday night for Peterborough, when Jerry Seinfeld came to town.