Book Report: Sein Language by Jerry Seinfeld (1993)

I must have bought this book for a buck at the Webster Groves Library book fair this year; it’s a recent acquisition, so of course, I read it soon. It’s the first nonfiction book I’ve finished in over a month (the last being The Prize Winner’s Handbook, and heck’s pecks, 1980 and 1993–they were almost the same year!)

Wow, I don’t mean to make you feel old, but you do realize that Seinfeld’s television show has been off network television for almost a decade, don’t you?

This book takes some of his topical humor and presents it in prose form. Now, I’ve not been much of a Seinfeld fan, so I don’t know how well the book works when he presents it; however, this book really only made me chuckle aloud a handful of times. The rest was wry, witty sometimes, but not what I’d call funny. As I go on in my quest to find really funny books by comedians (as you know, I’ve read Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Dennis Miller, Rita Rudner, Sinbad, Judy Tenuta, Tim Allen, and so on, and so on). Of these, Bill Cosby and Dennis Miller come across as the best because they’re storytellers or crafters of turns of phrase, and Rita Rudner’s up there. Tim Allen’s books (I Am Not Really Here and Don’t Stand Too Close To A Naked Man) aren’t so much based on his standup as booklength musings. Seinfeld falls in the middle of the pack with Chris Rock, Judy Tenuta, but probably above Sinbad in the book department. There’s something to be said for showmanship, I guess.

As I read, I couldn’t help but think that these books are something akin to riddle books for adults. Apparently, I’m hooked, and I’ll keep picking them up.

Worth it? Well, as much for a 1990s time piece to show what were the concerns of that halycon era when Seinfeld ruled the world. A brief age of innocence lost like most are.

Books mentioned in this review:


PS: A note to future historians, ca 2010: No, you’re thinking of Richard Lewis. Jerry Seinfeld was a different guy entirely whose popularity peaked a whole 8 years after Richard Lewis. But I see how you could make the mistake.