Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time ★★★★

I didn't have HBO when this originally aired in 1998 (good God, has it really been 15 years?) but this DVD was one of the first that I rented from Netflix when I signed up with them in 2000. I also have the CD, with the audio taken from a different performance of the same night. I don't know if it's just because I heard the CD before I watched the DVD, but I've always felt that the CD performance was a bit sharper.

I've actually seen Seinfeld perform live twice, both after the "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" event. What's striking about re-watching this performance is something that I was conscious of after each of the live shows, and that's how deceptive his pacing is. It seems like he milks a bit for every last chuckle before moving on, but then after a few bits it feels like he's just blowing through it all. It's weird how Seinfeld's performance can seem both brisk and deliberately slow.

This time around, I was also struck by how often cows come up in the material performed here. There's the bit about milk expiration as well as leather in the rain, and then they come back a third time in the bit about McDonald's. I'd conservatively say that between the CD and DVD, I've heard this material a dozen times over the years but never before did all those cow references seem so conspicuous as this time.

Also conspicuous: I loved the TV series Seinfeld the first time through, but I found very few episodes still amuse me in repeat viewings. This stand-up special, however, has held up over the years.

How Jerry Seinfeld: "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" Entered My Flickchart
I was surprised to discover this wasn't already ranked!

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" > Galaxy Quest --> #734
It's tough picking against Alan Rickman's droll performance in Galaxy Quest - particularly as a Trekker - but I've been too partial to Seinfeld in general and this performance in particular for too long.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" < The Music Man --> #734
By virtue of being one of the very few musicals I thoroughly enjoy, I'm giving the nod to The Music Man.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" > Joe versus the Volcano --> #550
I could probably go either way on this depending on the day and my mood, but while I appreciate the existential commentary of Joe versus the Volcano, Seinfeld's performance is sort of an artifact from my early adulthood.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" > The Men Who Stare at Goats --> #459
As a Crohnie, I'll always have a special place for The Men Who Stare at Goats but it doesn't hold for me quite the same personal connection as Seinfeld's stand-up performance.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" < The Prestige --> #459
My biggest problem with Christopher Nolan's storytelling is its coldness. Oddly, that actually works in favor of The Prestige, where the main characters are out to outsmart one another - and us along the way. It was also before Nolan got carried away with trying to outsmart is *coughInceptioncough*. It wins.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" > Duck Amuck --> #435
The meta-fiction humor of Duck Amuck is genius, but I've enjoyed Seinfeld's stand-up performance in repeat viewings - rare for me with comedy specials - enough that it gets the nod.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" < The Dream Team --> #435
I actually need to re-watch The Dream Team to see if it still holds up for me, but my memory of it is one of fondness strong enough to get the nod here...barely.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" > Dead Poets Society --> #429
I've never actually seen Dead Poets Society all the way through in one sitting. I've seen it in its entirety, but I always started but was interrupted or caught it already in progress. The fact I've chosen to re-watch "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" repeatedly over the years but never made a point to see Dead Poets Society all together tells me which one wins here.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" < Erin Brockovich --> #429
Look, I love "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" and all, but Julia Roberts may never have been better than in Erin Brockovich. That was the kind of movie that gives me hope about the real people out there working to improve the world.

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" > Rat Race --> #427
Oddly enough, I think I may have rented both of these together once upon a time from Netflix. Rat Race is fun, but I'm not nearly as fond of it as I am of "I'm Telling You for the Last Time".

"I'm Telling You for the Last Time" entered my Flickchart at #427/1468