LEDYARD, Conn.– Stand-up comedy, when done well, can be just the cure for what ails you. After witnessing two hours of some of the best of the genre last weekend, I am still chuckling to myself while in a profoundly better mood.
The MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods was the scene of this therapeutic laughter as Jerry Seinfeld commanded the stage on Friday night with a non-stop barrage on everything it means to be an American in 2012.
Opening act Tom Papa, who Seinfeld “discovered” back in 1993, was equally as funny and insightful during his short set that centered around fatherhood and its many challenges:
“I decided I’m going to have kids, I’m going to be king of the castle,” he said during his routine. “I’ll make people and rule them. But soon you realize there’s no respect for dad anymore. You’re like part mom, part dad, like a useless hermaphrodite hanging around the house.”
Papa, who had only 20 minutes to warm up the crowd, did a remarkable job before handing the microphone over to Seinfeld.
Jerry arrived on stage to a rousing applause from the near capacity crowd at MGM Grand and launched into some killer new material. This is not the single, navel-gazing Jerry Seinfeld of the 1990s. Like Papa, he has a wife and kids and they have provided him with a wealth of new material, as has the social media boom of the last five years, and the new restaurant craze in New York City, and a new favorite target, the 5 Hour Energy Drink.
“Five hours,” Seinfeld barked in his patented perplexed tone during his routine. “Who works 1 to 6? Most people work 9 to 5. So I guess we only need three hours of natural human energy and then one of these meth lab Hawaiian Punch Jell-O shots is going to take care of the rest.”
Chic New York City restaurants also get a proper smack down from Seinfeld:
“So you go to this fancy new restaurant and everything is pan seared and crusted and drizzled with a reduction of something that’s something else. They’re always drizzling in these restaurants….why are they drizzling? Just dump it on there once in awhile! Just once I want to hear a waiter say to me, ‘we take a chicken, we take a can of juice, we pop the can of juice open with a screwdriver and dump it on the chicken. It’s chicken with juice dumped on it, you want that?’”
“It’s another concept created by young, dumb people who think ‘connecting’ with people is great. When you blow out the candles on your 50th birthday cake, your first thought is ‘the fewer people I have anything to do with, the better off I am.’”
Although his newer material could come off as negative or contrarian ranting, Seinfeld is able to deliver it all in an upbeat, cheerful manner, holding on to the same demeanor he had when he burst onto the stand-up comedy scene over 30 years ago.
His most poignant lines came when discussing the merits and downfalls of being either single or married:
“When I was single I wouldn’t hang out with people who were married because I found their lives to be pathetic and depressing. Now that I am married I don’t like to spend time with my single friends because I find their lives to be shallow and meaningless. And I think in both cases I was correct.”
As for Jerry’s timing, body language and command of the stage, they have only gotten better as time goes on. For over 90 minutes he barely flubbed a line and only a small fraction of his routine flopped with the Foxwoods crowd.
What we witnessed was a master of comedy at the top of his game in an art form that is difficult to master.
If you go
Upcoming events at MGM Grand Theatre include a live performance from Jane’s Addiction this Saturday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35 to $55. For a full schedule of performers visit www.foxwoods.com .