Happiness is a Warm TV

Watch this: Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’

Steve Martin, left, with Jerry Seinfeld in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
Steve Martin, left, with Jerry Seinfeld in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Crackle

People have been telling me for awhile now that I need to watch “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” the web series in which Jerry Seinfeld takes comedians for rides in vintage cars and then for coffee (and often, breakfast or lunch).

It has long been on my catch-up list – based mainly on the raves for the Julia Louis-Dreyfus episode – but I’m not crazy about watching entire TV series on my laptop, so I kept putting it off.

Last week’s release of the episode with President Barack Obama, which opened Season 7, finally brought to my attention that laptop/mobile-watching isn’t mandatory. Sure, every episode of the entire series is on the “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” website, but they also stream through Crackle, a free channel available online and on Smart TVs, Roku devices and Apple TV devices. And unlike Netflix, there’s no subscription fee for Crackle, but you do have to watch a few commercials (if you binge on “Comedians,” you’ll get to know Acura very well).

The Obama episode plunged me into the “Comedians” rabbit hole and I watched almost every episode over this past weekend (a handful of the episodes from Season 2 have audio problems, but Crackle is working on that).

This is one of the most entertaining series I’ve ever watched.

The Obama episode was fun, but the real treasures are the episodes with great comedians: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Larry David, Steve Harvey, Amy Schumer, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Ricky Gervais ... the list of A-Listers goes on and on. One of the most riveting episodes featured Michael Richards, who played Kramer on the “Seinfeld” sitcom in the ’90s. Richards’ career went off the rails in 2006 when a cell phone video of him screaming racial slurs at an audience member went viral. After Seinfeld and Richards had some coffee and some laughs (Richards tells a fascinating story about an encounter with a chess savant), Richards opens up about how he still isn’t over the incident. Seinfeld offers him encouragement, but there’s a lot of sadness there.

“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” will be just as appealing to car aficionados as it is to comedy nerds. Seinfeld, an avid car collector, tries to match automobiles (only a few of them belong to him personally) to the personalities of the guests: a 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 for Gervais, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air for Harvey, a 1979 Volkswagen Beetle for Bill Maher, a 1959 Fiat 600 Jolly for Louis C.K., a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray for the President.

And more than a few of the cars break down, including the 1956 Corvette he drives with Jimmy Fallon and a 1971 Ferrari Daytona with Schumer. (One of my favorite lines came during the Patton Oswalt episode when their 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 broke down almost immediately, and after coffee, a second DeLorean was delivered for them to continue their ride. “You have a spare DeLorean?” Oswalt asked. “If you’re going to be in the DeLorean business, you have to have a spare,” Seinfeld answered).

Season 7’s second episode, with guest Steve Martin, debuts tonight at 11:30. They drive a Siata (an old Italian sports car) and eat at a diner in Pleasantville, NY. I can’t swear that the Siata breaks down, but the trailer does show the two of them standing beside a highway.