The Untold Truth Of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

Sticking the landing on a TV pilot is no easy feat. After all, just getting to the pilot process takes grit, creativity, and someone taking a chance on the work. And not all pilots are green-lighted — even after filming. TV pilots get ordered all the time, but not all of them make it to television sets. Yet here comedian Jerry Seinfeld is, having not only had two of his shows given the green light but also managing to create two series that have gone on for numerous seasons. Seinfeld, after all, helped create the sitcom Seinfeld and web series talk show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Each series ran for nine seasons or more.

The story of Seinfeld's 90s sitcom has been written and revisited countless times. So let's turn the focus from the "show about nothing" (yet really about everything) to the series that features, well, comedians in cars getting coffee.

CICGC premiered in 2012. Host Seinfeld takes his guests, who are fellow comedians, out for a cup of coffee. Sometimes food accompanies the liquid meetup, as does an exotic car and a ride. This is the untold truth of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was rejected by Starbucks

Even before creating CICGC, Jerry Seinfeld didn't need an introduction. He starred in a sitcom that ran nine seasons and revolutionized the genre. He even followed Seinfeld up with Bee Movie, an animated film that grossed nearly $300 million worldwide. Seinfeld, needless to say, knows how to attract audience members. Yet, despite all his success, he struggled to find a partner for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Seinfeld said that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rejected his TV idea. One would assume that a show about people drinking coffee would be a perfect match for a company that, well, makes coffee. Despite sending Schultz ten episodes to make up the first season, the Starbucks CEO declined the offer. Luckily, car company Acura came aboard.

"If it wasn't for Acura, the whole show never would have happened," Seinfeld said. "I made ten, we took it around. My favorite conversation was with Howard Schultz at Starbucks. I called him personally. I said, 'Howard, I made this show. It seems like maybe this is something we could do together.' I sent him the show, we got back on the phone, and he said, 'I don't really see the connection.' I said, 'Are there other people coming in your office pitching other shows with 'coffee' in the title?' I mean, I went everywhere. You'd be surprised, Brian, how little my name means."

Of course, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was eventually given the go and has gone 11 seasons strong.

The show didn't start on Netflix

It's hard to keep track of every show on TV. Yet titles eventually make their way to streaming services such as Netflix, and the spotlight is then shined on less known — yet deserving — shows. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is one such show.

Despite Jerry Seinfeld inking a massive production deal with Netflix in 2017, which included some of his stand-up material and the entire library of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the first nine seasons aired on the digital network Crackle, writes The Hollywood Reporter. While the $100 million deal has been met with mixed reviews because the little web series arguably lost its charm when money was poured on it, Netflix's subscriber reach put the show in the limelight. Yet the deal also included 24 new episodes, featuring prominent guests such as Eddie Murphy.

This isn't news for the series' most loyal followers, as they've been tuning in since the show's low-stake vibes on Crackle. Yet production deals tend to attract new followers. And, well, it's no doubt that acquiring Netflix's built-in audience likely led to even more first-time viewers tuning into Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee when the series switched networks. Nevertheless, $100 million for a show as endearing and (once) low budget as Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a lot of cheese.

Spontaneity with a dash of reshoots

CICGC isn't supposed to be scripted. At its heart, the series features two people talking to each other about whatever topics the conversation steers to — yet these conversations are commonly about the trials and tribulations that accompany being a comedian. As the guests on the show are, in fact, comedians. However, it might surprise audience members to learn that some of the scenes are shot multiple times. Meaning, yes, some of the show is technically scripted.

Case in point — a scene with Aziz Ansari had to be shot 15 times, reports TheThings. Because, after all, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a TV show — and all aspects must look right on the camera before being deemed a finished product. This particular scene was re-filmed so the pouring of the coffee looked *chef's kiss* perfect.

Editing of the scenes shouldn't mislead anyone. As some of the episodes don't even run for ten minutes. The car ride with Jerry Seinfeld and his guest, as well as the drinking of coffee at a restaurant, likely takes longer than ten minutes total. Although, sure, Seinfeld does feature some really fast cars on his show. Yet editing is essential so each conversation between Seinfeld and his guests can fit in an episode and be as entertaining as possible. Seinfeld is a perfectionist, and TV shows take a lot of work. CICGC might come off as natural, but it shouldn't surprise audience members if certain scenes require multiple takes, as well as an editing process for each episode.

Bobcat Goldthwait's name was bleeped out during the episode with Bridget Everett

Jerry Seinfeld and fellow comedian Bobcat Goldthwait have a rocky relationship. It's so bad that Seinfeld bleeped out Goldthwait's name when his guest, Bridget Everett, mentioned Goldthwait during her appearance on the show.

In response to hearing his name, Seinfeld, to say the least, spoke his mind. "I don't like him. At all," Seinfeld told Everett (via "I had kind of forgotten about him and then there was a little article about him in the paper and even in that there was a veiled reference to his dislike of what I did. It didn't have my name, of course."

Seinfeld even dropped inappropriate language. Seinfeld went on to say, "He used to rail against me 'cause they weren't as wild and dangerous as he was. 'Cause he sucked. He wasn't funny. And that's why he didn't get anywhere... 'Cause in comedy, nobody gives a f— if you're cool, if you're lame. If you're funny, you win. If you're not funny, you don't."

While there are breadcrumbs scattered across the internet detailing their feud, it's evident that Seinfeld was talking about Goldthwait when he went on a rant on his own TV show.

The guests are paid in a unique way

Although agents, managers, and the industry's guild are presumably involved, Jerry Seinfeld still manages to pay his guests in a unique way. In an interview with David Spade, Seinfeld detailed his payment method in response to Spade saying there's nothing like doing a stand-up bit and then getting paid for the time worked right after a set.

"If I were still doing Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee — which I don't know if I'm going to get back to that — but I wanted you to come on the next season," Seinfeld said. "And the way I pay people for that show, I give them $4,000 in twenties in a white envelope."

You do the work, and then you're paid for said work. This old-school method is one that Seinfeld is likely familiar with and that he carried over to his show. "That was our comedy club money — nothing felt better than when they would hand you that envelope at the end of the week," he said.

Of course, walking around with an envelope full of cash isn't everyone's cup of coffee — but surely Seinfeld's guests appreciated the gesture, as well as the timeliness of payment.

Not all hits go unblemished

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is, by most standards, a successful series. After all, the show's first episode was released in 2012 and the most recent episode in 2019. During that time, 84 episodes over 11 seasons have aired. However, not all successful shows are met with praise and critical acclaim.

Jerry Seinfeld was accused of presenting a "white" view of New York City in Seinfeld, and that same criticism followed him in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, due to his first season of guests including many white male performers (such as Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, and Michael Richards). During a BuzzFeed Brews with CBS This Morning interview, Seinfeld wasn't afraid to get candid about these claims. "People think it's the census or something," Seinfeld said of the statement that pop culture should accurately reflect society. "This has gotta represent the actual pie chart of America? Who cares? Funny is the world that I live in. You're funny, I'm interested. You're not funny, I'm not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that."

Seinfeld has been caught up with politically correct storms quite often off the TV screen. He also received backlash for a tweet about comedian Lewis Black before appearing on the show, making a link between Black's last name and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The lawsuit

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a pleasant show thanks to its laid-back nature and coffee house vibes. Unfortunately, the details that go on behind the scenes aren't always as far-fetched as what happens on the show. As for CICGC, a creation lawsuit between Jerry Seinfeld and producer Christian Charles ensued over the show's rights. Despite accusations of allegedly stealing the idea for the TV series, Seinfeld eventually won the lawsuit.

According to the Associated Press, Charles said, "the concept of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" arose as they filmed the documentary with a scene of Seinfeld and friend Barry Marder driving across the George Washington Bridge in Seinfeld's vintage Volkswagen Beetle."

Although Charles said he suggested they create a show in November 2001, featuring two friends driving around and talking in a car, Seinfeld supposedly rejected the idea. Of course, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, a show about two people driving around in a car and then getting coffee, would eventually be created. But alas, Seinfeld's defense team said Charles waited beyond the three-year statute of limitations mark, and the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled against Charles and in Seinfeld's favor.

The show has had two sponsors

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a show about comedians in cars driving around, and then they get coffee. So it would only make sense for a sponsor of the show to be a car company. Enter Acura. Although the show didn't exclusively have Jerry Seinfeld driving around in Acuras — which would have taken away from the show's authenticity — Seinfeld still highlighted Acura cars, and Acura ads played before and after the episodes on Crackle. As seen in the show, a vast majority of the vehicles aren't Acuras, and CICGC's genuine feel remained intact.

Another natural sponsor for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee would be a company that makes coffee. Naturally, the show brought on Italian coffee brand Lavazza as a sponsor for season 11 (via Sprudge). Although this sponsorship deal was a little more obvious and on the nose in the episodes — as footage of Lavazza coffee being made appears in the season's episodes — the season still operated similar to previous seasons. Seinfeld still showcased a car, drove around with a guest, and they eventually enjoyed coffee — only this time product placement wasn't subtle as in-depth shots and closeups of Lavazza coffee being made were present. Although this might not feel authentic to some audience members, as many cafes serve coffee brands outside of Lavazza, Seinfeld and his guests still had meaningful conversations and good laughs. The quality of the show didn't get worse.

Every (main) Seinfeld cast member has been on the show

Before gifting screens with Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created Seinfeld, a sitcom that ran for nine seasons and 180 episodes. Audience members don't have to be a fan of Seinfeld's hit sitcom to understand Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The shows are quite different from one another — one is a make-believe comedy series loosely based on real people, and the other is a show that features real people in (nearly) every episode. That said, every main Seinfeld cast member — Jason Alexander (George Costanza), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine Benes), and Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer) — has appeared on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Jerry Seinfeld, of course, plays a fictionalized version of himself on Seinfeld, yet himself in CICGC.

Unfortunately, the episode featuring Alexander's "George Costanza" character from Seinfeld didn't make the jump over to Netflix, reports Decider. As the rights to that particular episode don't belong to Netflix because "The Over-Cheer" was a special Super Bowl episode. But alas, Seinfeld fans who also watch CICGC are rewarded when Jerry Seinfeld sits down for a cup of coffee with his former co-stars during the individual episodes featuring Alexander, Louis-Dreyfus, and Richards. As there's nothing quite like sharing a cup of coffee — and shared memories — with an old friend.

Jerry Seinfeld doesn't own all the cars on the show

Jerry Seinfeld likes cars. His Porsche collection alone screams "car aficionado." As a result of being worth almost $1 billion dollars and having a massive car collection, audience members might believe that Seinfeld owns all the cars on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – as each episode starts with him introducing a car that he has immense knowledge of and knows how to operate. Yet not all the cars on the show are part of his personal collection.

It turns out that some of the cars were either rented or borrowed, which includes a 1954 Siata in season 7, episode 2, featuring Steve Martin. At the beginning of the episode, Seinfeld states that he doesn't own the car and he even credits the owner (the rare car, unfortunately, breaks down). If audience members stick around for the credits, each cars' owner, whether it be Seinfeld, another person, or a company, is revealed. Despite the misconception that Seinfeld owns every car on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, not every ride belongs to the comedian, which shouldn't take anything away from the series.

The show might have unofficially taken its last ride

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is the type of show that can go forever. Although a lot of work goes into creating any type of production, there's an endless list of comedians, actors, and funny people the show can bring on as guests. And, well, there are a lot of coffee shops in America, let alone the world, that Jerry Seinfeld can use as the setting for his talk show. Yet Seinfeld alluded to CICGC taking its final ride during a virtual press conference to promote his Netflix special, 23 Hours To Kill.

According to Deadline, Seinfeld said, "We haven't planned anything with that show. I feel like I did that tour... I know they look very casual and easy but they're actually a lot of work to make, the editing is very intense and I don't know, I feel like I may have done that exploration at this point."

For all it's worth, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee has gone on for 11 seasons and 84 episodes, a remarkable feat — even for a comedian as successful as Jerry Seinfeld, a man who has struck gold on TV for decades.