A decade ago, Jerry Seinfeld released a documentary about his journey back to his roots - stand-up comedy - in the film "The Comedian." It had been four years since the end of his hit TV show "Seinfeld," and he wanted to get back in the game.
The documentary showed the work the now 58-year-old comedian puts into his material, and that preparation was evident from the start of his second show at The Riverside on Oct. 13.
Seinfeld performed for 64 minutes, weaving in and out of his bits effortlessly. His voice was somewhat raspy, but he looked sharp in a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, and he stuck to the strengths – commenting on every day situations and things - while punctuating punch lines with a raised voice.
He brought a lot of energy to the second show, working the stage from side to side and using his arms and legs to emphasize jokes.
Fans were treated with something Seinfeld says he's never done in 36 years of performing - he dropped the mic minutes into his set. He was doing a weather joke and as he moved his hands up and down, he knocked the mic to the floor. He then joked how the moment will be his Zapruder Film.
In his long set, he worked from weather to food (including a pop tart bit), late night TV and cookies. He really got the crowd going once he moved into bits on Facebook, Twitter, smart phones and OnStar. He then finished up with a strong bit on marriage and fatherhood.
After a standing ovation, he came back out for a question and answer session with the crowd, which led to a bevy of shout-outs regarding his long run sitcom.
"These are all lines from the show that are not funny to me. I was on the show. I was there," he quipped.
When asked what his favorite Milwaukee beer was, he said "I just got here yesterday!"
He ended the short session by saying "This is a more bizarre group of people than I expected" and walked off again to heavy applause.
It was a lively, clever set, and one that got stronger as it went on. The thousands of people who lined Plankinton and Wisconsin waiting to get in where definitely not disappointed.
Mark Schiff opened for Seinfeld with a set that lasted just under 20 minutes. Also dressed in a suit and tie, Schiff did earn some laughs with jokes about trailer parks, 99-cent stores, and sitting in the doctor's office with no pants before finishing up with a marriage bit.
For another take on the show, click here.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.