Book Review: “Is This Anything?” by Jerry Seinfeld

is this anythingAs tastes change, so too of course must comedy, a fact that is amply demonstrated both within and by this book. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld here collects what he considers his best material spanning his entire career, organized by decade, with a brief introduction to each. His brand of observational humor can make it feel a bit like a mini-history of the last 50 years, especially when jokes revolving around the technology of the times comes up. While this can trigger bursts of nostalgia, it can also make some of the material feel dated. And make no mistake, some of it is quite dated. Of course, the jokes improve as the book (and time) move on, but some of the best bits featured here will be very familiar to anyone who has watched his hit sitcom in the 1990s. It’s hard not to feel like his whole style of comedy hasn’t become a bit tired as well however. I admit the book rarely elicited more than a grin out of me, and even occasionally had me wondering why I ever found him funny to begin with. It’s interesting to see a stand-up comedian’s career summed up in a sort of “Greatest Hits” package like this, particularly to see how his style evolved over time, but I wouldn’t call it “essential reading” for any but his most die-hard fans or perhaps those looking to get into stand-up comedy themselves. ★★★ – Sean Farrell

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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