Jerry Seinfeld’s Post-‘Seinfeld’ Legacy Will Come Down to a Crappy Breakfast Pastry

With ‘Unfrosted,’ Seinfeld seeks his first great creative project since splitting up with Larry David
Jerry Seinfeld’s Post-‘Seinfeld’ Legacy Will Come Down to a Crappy Breakfast Pastry

As comedy giant Jerry Seinfeld seemingly prepares for a lukewarm response to his upcoming parodical Pop-Tart origin movie Unfrosted, we gotta wonder — is his post-Seinfeld legacy already toast?

Very few comedians in the history of entertainment have come close to reaching Seinfeld’s creative peak when he created and starred in the best and biggest sitcom of the 1990s, and none have so much as sniffed his tax bracket. By every estimation, Seinfeld is the most financially successful comedian ever, as exemplified by how he based an entire talk show around showing off his legendary collection of classic cars. However, Seinfeld’s creative output following the controversial Seinfeld finale in 1998 is surprisingly sparse for a star of his stature, especially when compared to that of his former comedy partner Larry David, who celebrated the end of his unprecedented success on Seinfeld by almost immediately launching another critically beloved, commercially successful and widely influential series in Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Beyond the charmingly low-stakes Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Seinfeld has spent the last 26 years of his entertainment career mostly doing the occasional stand-up set and appearing as himself in various shows and specials, only ever exerting himself to the extent that David did with Curb in two projects: the oft-meme’d and self-starred 2007 animated film Bee Movie, which Seinfeld wrote along with his Unfrosted creative team, and his upcoming Netflix film and directorial debut. 

If Unfrosted pops out as half-baked as Seinfeld’s first movie, it will beg the question of his post-Seinfeld career, “Is that all you got?”

Obviously, everyone who isn’t involved in the making of Unfrosted will have to withhold judgment on the Netflix movie until it hits streaming on May 3rd, but even Seinfeld himself isn’t jumping out of the toaster to sing the film’s praises. In a recent interview with GQ, he admitted that he had to be “talked into'” doing his directorial debut film, further saying that it “wasn’t my idea” to make a movie about the completely fictional origin story of the Pop-Tart. Seinfeld also lamented that the film industry in which he’s yet to make his first big hit is a shell of its former self, saying that those within the movie business “don’t have any idea that the movie business is over.” 

Comments made by a near-billionaire with nothing to lose during a compulsory press junket are a far cry from a perfect portent for the performance of Unfrosted, but, from a cynical, Seinfeld-esque perspective, doesn’t it sound a bit like the mega-star is foaming the runway in expectation of another chilly reception? 

The first time Seinfeld tried his hand at movie-making, Bee Movie fell just short of doubling its massive $150 million budget at the box office, which is typically regarded as the lowest possible break-even point for a film. On top of that, critics were confused as to why Seinfeld’s first film and his biggest project since his self-titled sitcom was so awkward, unfocused and, most importantly, unfunny. When Seinfeld seemingly distanced himself not just from Unfrosted but from the entire movie business, it made us worry that he still hears Roger Ebert saying that Bee Movie “never really takes off.”

The discourse over Seinfeld’s career after Seinfeld among far less talented and infinitely less successful internet commentators has always been centered around the comparison between him and David, and the debate over which comedy giant was more responsible for the brilliance of history’s funniest sitcom. But when you hold up Curb Your Enthusiasm against Seinfeld’s entire solo career thus far, it’s hardly a contest as to which comic is most fitting of the label “genius.” 

And, unless Unfrosted fares better than Seinfeld’s first film attempt, we’re going to start calling Seinfeld “Larry David’s better-looking buddy.”


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