The Rehabilitation of Jerry Seinfeld

Back when Bee Movie was about to come out — hey, remember Bee Movie? — the New York Times did a profile of Jerry Seinfeld that made him sound like some aloof and cantankerous descendant of Howard Hughes (minus the tissue box shoes and general psychosis). Talk of riding in helicopters and newfangled “videoconferencing systems” aside, the man known best as a television everyman seemed less interested in — to quote BP — “the small people” than ever. For instance, when asked to gauge his interest in becoming a producer, post-Bee Movie, Seinfeld replied, “So I would have an office, I guess and people would come in and pitch me something, and I’d go, ‘Yeah, that sounds good.’ Oh my God, I’d kill myself. Give me a gun.” OK, then. And don’t even get us started on the interaction between Seinfeld and an overzealous fan at a restaurant. It just came off as bitter and unfunny, something both Bee Movie and that year’s guest appearance on 30 Rock all but confirmed.

But 2007 is but a memory now. Perhaps propelled by the Seinfeld reunion plot on last year’s hilarious Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld isn’t just funny again, but also likeable. Of course — as we know — he did become a producer and wound up with The Marriage Ref. And while that was a disaster — NBC, FTW? — it was probably was much funnier than it deserved to be because of both Seinfeld’s contributions and the contributions of his vast friend network. And the latest bit of Seinfeld-positive PR? Doing play-by-play for 4 1/2 innings during Wednesday night’s New York Mets/Detroit Tigers interleague game at CitiField.

Seinfeld was there ostensibly because of the whole Lady Gaga incident. Two weeks back, the pop star caused a stir at CitiField, flipped off fans and wound up in Seinfeld’s luxury suite. Something he wasn’t very happy with. “We brought the bedbug dog in [to the suite]. Rusty? What’s his name? The beagle? It’s all clean.” But on a more serious note, the comic said he was most upset because of the way Gaga treated Mets fans. “I didn’t like the finger. It’s disrespectful. She was a guest in our park.”

Maybe that Times profile just caught him on a bad day. Maybe he had a Bill Murray-in-Scrooged-like epiphany. But whatever the case, it’s nice to have “Jerry Seinfeld, Man of the People” back once again. Now: More Curb please?

The Rehabilitation of Jerry Seinfeld