The latest season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Emmy-nominated web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” started off with a bang, landing Kristen Wiig in the passenger seat of a 1964 Volvo sedan, chosen for Wiig because of her Norwegian descent and penchant for old Volvos. In the Season 9 premiere, Seinfeld takes Wiig to House of Pies in Los Angeles, who seems utterly thrilled at the choice. As the Volvo whirs, the banter kicks off, and it’s off to the races for another season of the show that offers a delightful glimpse into how the comedy sausage (or pie, in this case) is made.
Seinfeld and Wiig have an easy rapport, as he does with most of his guests. Rather than stick to a traditional interview style, Seinfeld butters Wiig up not only with pie but by throwing in his own jokes when conversation lulls. A non-sequitur about orthodontists opens up a nice back and forth, even if it does sound like Seinfeld is just workshopping jokes.
Wiig recounts the ambiguity around her hiring on “Saturday Night Live,” recalling a meeting with Lorne Michaels in which she swore she had the job, only to see the season begin without her on it. Four shows later, she got the call. “I don’t think they told anyone I was joining the cast… It was so awkward.”
Seinfeld praises Wiig for her ability to expand the tiniest action into a fully-fledged character, as she did so entertainingly on “SNL” from 2005 to 2012. Fans mourning the weekly dose of Wiig’s signature characters will enjoy a peek into the development of Linda, an acerbic movie critic. The inspiration for that character, Wiig explains, came from a woman on a plan who was very confused while watching “The Matrix.” It’s exactly the kind of unrehearsed anecdotes that makes “Comedians in Cars” so special.
There’s little soul searching on this episode, as J.B. Smoove provided last season, and no stand-up horror stories that appear to bond Seinfeld with his other guests. She does provide one clue as to why she left “SNL”: “I remember when I first started, I was like — oh, the moment I feel comfortable here is when I have to leave.”
With future guests for season nine including Bob Einstein, Cedric the Entertainer, Christoph Waltz, Lewis Black and Norm Macdonald, Wiig was definitely the perfect choice to kick off the season.
“Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” is available to stream for free on Crackle.