It’s Not Nothing

Linda Burton posting from Boise, Idaho  – Who could get a standing O before he even said a word? Jerry Seinfeld, to be sure. He ran onto the stage, went past the mike, then stopped, and turned, and crazily assumed an almost-chicken pose, a rooster walk; one foot in the air behind, his head extended to the front, a Kramer kind of move. The crowd jumped up and down, we jiggle danced in happiness. Jerry’s here and we will laugh tonight, for sure. And so we did. He talked for 90 minutes straight, every word hilarious. Every single word. What did he talk about? Nothing. His trademark topic. Nothing. I laughed so hard the muscles of my face just quit on me, gave up, not used to that. I finally had to settle for a belly laugh behind a neutral look. The man behind me stuck to words; “Awesome,” he repeated, again and again. I’m sitting on Row I, the 15th seat; and I can see just fine; as Jerry paces to and fro on the stage of the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts at Boise State University; two thousand people packed it full tonight.

The Velma V Morrison Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors in 1984; it sits on the campus of Boise State University right beside the Boise River; when viewed from above you can see that it is roughly shaped like the state of Idaho. The calendar shows more good stuff coming up: Kevin Hart (Let Me Explain), An Evening with Yanni, Bill Maher, Chicago in Concert, the National Tour Premier of the Tony Award winning War Horse. There’s also a Family Theater Series and a Family Reading Series; the 40th Anniversary Tour of the Manhattan Transfer, the international dance phenomenon MOMIX; and of course performances from the resident companies – the Boise Philharmonic and Ballet Idaho. Impressive lineup; gorgeous place.

And tonight, they’ve brought Jerry here. Jerry Seinfeld has been ranked as one of the twelve greatest stand-up comedians of all time, known for his “observational” humor, focusing on personal relationships and uncomfortable social obligations. And nothing. Although his Seinfeld TV show ended its nine-year run 14 years ago, it is still considered by many to be the “best comedy show on TV” and reruns air in high-profile time periods in leading television stations in more than 200 markets around the country, representing more than 99 percent of the viewing audience. I still watch him every chance I get. And even though I know what’s coming up, I still laugh.

What did he talk about, let’s see: poptarts, food, facebook and phones, being married, having kids; transitioning from one innocent topic to another with only three sips of water during the show. Food. “It’s not our FAULT! It’s FOOD’S fault! Pies sitting on revolving stands, seducing us like peep-show prostitutes! Cake, with icing. Icing! Why does it need icing? It’s already CAKE!” I write the words out now and they don’t seem funny; they need his Jewish whine, delivery is everything. After another standing O at the end of the show, he came back out for some audience interaction, a question and answer bit. “Did you sleep with Elaine?” yelled out from halfway back, on the left side of the room. “You mean Elaine in the show, or Julia, the professional actress in real life?” “The actress in real life!” shouted back. “Do you think I’m CRAZY!!” Jerry belted out. “I’m producer, writer, and actor in a show, working with professional actors. AM I GOING TO MESS THAT UP?” The audience roared, again.

Jerry’s on a spring and summer tour; besides such stops as Boise and Lansing, Akron and Paducah, he’s booked at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, and the Kennedy Center too. He’s a multi-millionaire, one of the richest comedians in history; his collection of Porsches numbers 46, or thereabouts; 10 Porsche Boxsters each a different color; a $700,000 Porsche 959. But I don’t mind; give him whatever cut he negotiates from my $88 ticket; it was worth every penny. He made me laugh, and that’s not nothing.

About Morrison Center for the Performing Arts

About Jerry Seinfeld