19 minutes in a car with Obama

US President Barack Obama's episode of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is about 19 minutes of, well, nothing.

Seinfeld approaches the Oval Office from the outside, taps on the window, and takes the president for a short spin on the South Lawn in a 1963 Corvette Stingray.

Then the pair retires to a staff dining room in the basement of the White House for some coffee and conversation.

Seinfeld asks about the president's morning routine: Obama is roused by a phone call, not an alarm clock; he shaves before he works out; his undies are all one colour (unspecified), all one brand (unspecified); Obama picks out his own suits from his own closet ... you get the picture.

Some excerpts from the conversation:

Seinfeld: "How many world leaders do you think are just completely out of their mind?"

Obama: "A pretty sizeable percentage. ... And part of what happens is these guys – I think the longer they stay in office, the more likely that is to happen. At a certain point, your feet hurt and you're having trouble peeing."

When Seinfeld asks how he blows off steam, Obama says: "I curse. I curse. ... Bad stuff, or stupid stuff, is happening constantly, right? Every day. So you have to be able to just make fun of a lot of that. Like 'that was even dumber and more annoying than usual.' That's when cursing is really valuable."

Obama also confesses to an unhealthy obsession with nachos, and he commiserates with Seinfeld about golf partner Larry David's overuse of suntan lotion.

In the final two minutes, the president throws in a mention of Obamacare, perhaps so he can write this off as work. The episode ends with Obama himself driving the Stingray on the circular drive on the South Lawn.

Seinfeld's web series, as the title suggests, usually features the sitcom legend jawing over caffeinated beverages with fellow comics. His episode with the president was his first with a politician.

Obama has increasingly collaborated with entertainers in new media formats to burnish his image or advance some line of policy talk.

The two taped the segment at the White House on December 7 – the day after Obama delivered a televised prime-time address on terrorism. Though Seinfeld taped footage around Washington for two days, the president never actually left the grounds of the White House with him.


Washington Post