When Jerry Seinfeld emerged from behind the curtain at the Colden Auditorium, he was not only returning to his alma mater, but to the stage that helped launch his comedy career.
“This is where I started the whole damn thing,” Seinfeld said as he greeted the crowd at Queens College’s sold-out Colden Auditorium, his fourth of five shows in each of the city’s boroughs.
Seinfeld first landed on the Queens College stage in the 1970s as part of a student play.
“I was a reporter in the play and it wasn’t really supposed to be funny,” the Massapequa-born comedian remembered. “I came out and made the whole thing really funny and it wasn’t a comedy play.”
The director pulled him aside to remind him it wasn’t a comedy, Seinfeld said, “And I said, ‘Screw this acting thing, I’m going to [Manhattan comedy club] Catch a Rising Star.”
Between Catch a Rising Star and the Thursday, October 18 show, Seinfeld turned himself into a world-renowned comedian and co-creator of one of the most beloved sitcoms of all-time, “Seinfeld.”
Seinfeld, who helped write the show famously about nothing, still displayed the ability to riff on the frivolities of life, including a five-minute bit on breakfast and the magic of Pop-Tarts.
“Once there were Pop-Tarts, I did not understand why other types of food continued to exist,” Seinfeld joked. “My mother was shopping and preparing meals, I was like, ‘What are you doing, it’s over? You’ll never beat this.’”
Other topics touched on by the funnyman were marriage (“When you’re single you can oversleep a half hour and no one even notices”); energy drinks (“What does it even feel like to be in deficit of five hours of energy?”); and food (“Why is it that you can smell french fries through a three foot concrete wall?”).
But Seinfeld also focused on Queens in the homecoming show. It was his first time back to the school since he received an honorary doctorate in 1994.
“I am so happy to be back in Queens. I love Queens,” he said.
Students and residents can easily identify with the grief Seinfeld remembered from his two years at Queens College: Parking problems and the misnamed Utopia Parkway.
“At what point was that a utopia?” said Seinfeld, who carried a double major while at the school, communication and arts and sciences.
“I took two majors because both of those are about half a major together.”
Following the 75-minute show, Seinfeld returned to the stage to take questions from the audience.
When asked for a favorite episode, Seinfeld said he gets foggy on which stories go with which episode, but rattled off a few treasured scenes: the golf ball in the blowhole of the whale, George accidentally poisoning his fiancée with toxic envelopes and Jerry stealing the rye bread from the old lady.
Currently, Seinfeld is filming an Internet show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which is exactly what the name implies. Seinfeld will pick up a comedian in an exotic car and they’ll chat and quip while driving and sitting down for a coffee or meal.
Among those featured on the show was his “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David, who rode in a 1952 VW Bug.
But those awaiting a reunion show will not be hearing “Seinfeld, party of four,” any time soon.
“When you sit in those director chairs, it’s just depressing,” Seinfeld said. “Yeah, it’s great, it’s great … it’s over.”