Shandling vs. Seinfeld

I’m watching The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling on HBO, and every time I see Jerry Seinfeld (really, just every time I see Jerry Seinfeld in general) I feel like he’s this empty vessel, this guy who abhors anything honest or sincere or genuine or true. I think his slick surface smugness hides a howling well of terror at the chaos of actual existence. In everything from Comedian to Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to this documentary about his good friend to pretty much anywhere he shows up, he just comes across as unctuous, self-absorbed, one of those guys who believes he’s got it all figured out and so there’s nothing left to figure out and so if you’re trying to figure things out, you’re somehow wasting your time. He’s dismissive of actors, of the idea of acting as an art form, of spiritual truth, of depth of feeling, of others, of very nearly everything but himself.

Meanwhile, here’s Garry, this shambling rubber-faced mess of a human being in all his naked honest bent-but-not-broken weirdness stretching and struggling and staggering towards truth. I’m not saying Garry isn’t an asshole, too, but he’s an asshole I can comprehend, get behind, want to have a meal with. Jerry just seems like he’d bring down the room with his stuffshirt attention-seeking “lookee me, I got it goin’ on” way of being. Like, I wanna kick it in the green room with Garry and Chris Rock and Kevin Nealon but can someone lock the door when Jerry goes to the bathroom? Does Jerry go to the bathroom? Cause he sure acts like his shit don’t stink.

Hell, even Bob Saget comes across as a deeply feeling human being in this thing, weeping openly over a lost friendship and tossing the word “love” around with no ridiculous choking man-shame. And I’ve seen Chappelle get raw and real recently, and Chris Rock bare a little soul, and I just wonder what it would even take to get Seinfeld to get onstage, or sit down in an interview, or in his car, or even just with a friend with no cameras around, to actually rip open his chest and show anyone, anywhere, ever, what his heart looks like.