The Real Reason It’s Going To Be a Hot Minute Before Jerry Seinfeld Returns To Standup

Jerry Seinfeld might be a legend in the TV sitcom world with the continued success of Seinfeld, but he got his start in standup comedy. The comedian’s latest standup special 23 Hours to Kill premiered in May. But it’s going to be a while before fans can catch Seinfeld live.

’23 Hours to Kill’ is Jerry Seinfeld’s latest — and possibly last — comedy special

Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld | Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

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For the first time since 1998, Seinfeld took to the stage in a room full of people for 23 Hours to Kill. The special landed on Netflix’s platform in May. According to the site, the show “reinforces his reputation as the precision-craftsman of standup comedy.”

The official description continues: “Jerry Seinfeld takes the stage in New York and tackles talking vs. texting, bad buffets vs. so-called ‘great’ restaurants and the magic of Pop-Tarts.”

23 Hours to Kill was filmed at the Beacon Theatre in New York City and might potentially be the last special the comedian ever does.

“I’m really just into the pure art of it now,” Seinfeld told the New York Times. “Just the bit, the audience and the moment. I’m more interested in that than ever, and I’m less interested in everything else.”

Seinfeld won’t perform in a venue anytime soon

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Seinfeld — who played some meta version of himself in the 1990s sitcom for nine seasons — doesn’t love performing for college campuses. And, he’s over show business altogether. According to USA Today, there are no plans for a Seinfeld reunion, despite shows like Parks and Recreation doing versions amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I didn’t see that and I haven’t had any conversations about it (with them),” Seinfeld said. He added, “that sounds like a lot of work.” 

That said, there also aren’t plans for the star to get back on the stage with everything so uncertain.

“If you’re going into a theater and it’s only one-quarter full and everybody’s got 10 seats between them, I don’t know if that’s worth doing for me,” Seinfeld said.

“I’m going to wait until everyone does feel comfortable gathering so that you can relax and have a good time. I’m happy to wait — I don’t want to compromise the experience. When you go see a comedian that you love and you laugh, it’s a great release. And I think people are going to want and need it very much when the time comes. But I want to wait ’til we can really do it.”

He added that when he does make a comeback, he’s not interested in talking much about COVID-19 aside from one aside he’s been noodling with.

“I was asking a comedian friend of mine the other day, Saturday Night Live alum) Colin Quinn, and he said people are going to be sick of it by the time we get into those venues and they’re not going to want to hear about it,” Seinfeld said.

“I mean, a great joke is a great joke if you have a great joke about the virus. What I’ve been saying about it is, if I was another virus, I would be intensely jealous of this virus coming up with this ‘two weeks of no symptoms’ idea. It’s like the most brilliant bit that a virus ever thought of: that we can spread without them knowing that we’re in there. So, you know, the virus has got some very clever stuff.”

His forthcoming book details his comedy career

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To make the loss of Seinfeld’s live performances a little easier, his upcoming book Is This Anything releases Oct. 6. Just don’t expect it to cover every part of his personal life.

Is This Anything? is the title of my new book because that’s what comedians say to each other about any new bit they want to try,” Seinfeld tweeted.

“I’ve saved every bit I ever wrote, that worked on stage, from 1975 to this year, and assembled it all chronologically along with some memories and analysis of each significant period,” he continued:

“So this is the most complete compilation of how I survived in the world of stand up comedy from the 1970s to the 2020s if you’re curious about that.”

In the meantime, we’re all just getting through the pandemic. If there’s any character from Seinfeld that wouldn’t adjust, the comedian has one school of thought.

“I think George would be the most interesting, trying to deal with the social distancing,” Seinfeld said. “I feel like the others would really like it and really enjoy the lack of social difficulties that they always have.”