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Jerry Seinfeld (7 & 9:30 p.m.)

  • Overture Hall 201 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Jerry Seinfeld is at once an important comedic relic and a very current problem. No one can ignore his legacy, not because it would be some sort of an affront but because it would be literally impossible. The endurance of Seinfeld (the comedian) and Seinfeld (the show) through the years has been buoyed by the comedians and shows that continue to benefit from their respective genius, as well as the comedian's popular YouTube show. Still, what does that mean for Seinfeld to be a comedian and cultural influence in the present? In his newest Netflix special, Jerry Before Seinfeld, he opens with a riff on...misunderstanding Uber? "Do we even pay for this?" he asks, exasperated. Jokes like these are still funny, though because there's a truth to the surreality of Uber but also because Seinfeld pokes fun at himself, now a little older and very not much the prototypical man of the present. This is harmless enough, but sometimes it's not. Case in point, when he makes statements that call political correctness creepy or says it will destroy comedy. These statements show that even though Seinfeld is now on the edge peering into today's world, rather than in the center looking out, he still has considerable influence in comedy and the potential to give bad, reactionary takes. Viewing Seinfeld's comedy today requires a sharp, critical lens, not a rose-tinted one which filters his comedy of today through his legacy of bygone years. —Henry Solo

Later Event: February 2
Whiplash (free)