One of the under-appreciated reasons for the success of Crackle's COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE is the interviewing skills of Jerry Seinfeld. Sure, it helps that he's funny and that he has a level of success that allows him to connect personally with other powerful people. But at his best, Jerry Seinfeld is also a first-rate interviewer and that's never been more evident than in the season seven premiere of the show.
For this episode Seinfeld wheels out a classic 1963 split-back Corvette and travels to the White House to grab coffee with the President. It's the type of staged situation which could rapidly devolve into one cringe-worthy shtick and there are moments where that almost happens. But the bulk of the extended 19-minute episode is funny and wry and offers up some real insight from President Obama.
The President has a good sense of humor and he shows it frequently during the interview as he and Seinfeld discuss what it's like to be President while sitting in a small White House dining space. Some of Seinfeld's questions are silly but interesting, such as whether the President picks out his own clothes (he does) or if he's ever adjusted the temperature in the White House (he has someone he calls to take care of it).
But there are some great, somewhat serious moments that show a side of the Presidency that isn't often seen in public. A potentially goofball question from Seinfeld about whether he's ever sat across from a world leader who has "just lost it" prompts a great exchange about how easy it is to lose your perspective the longer you're in office. Obama talks about Congress and how he handles the daily frustrations that come with dealing with people who can disappoint you. It's a well-edited, often funny hunk of the episode and it shows the President as his very best. No matter what you think of his politics, he seems like the kind of guy who in his pre-President years would have been a fun person to hang out and have beers with while watching a Chicago Bears game.
The episode ends with the President taking the Corvette for a quick drive down the White House driveway. He seems to be having fun and he's comfortable in his own skin in a way that isn't always evident in other situations.
COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE remains one of the best examples of the strengths of streaming video. It's an idea which wouldn't work in a traditional network setting, but it's perfect for an outlet like Crackle. This is easily the best episode yet of the series and not just because we get to hear the President of the United States discuss what it's like to play wolf with a sunscreen-soaked Larry David.