Jerry Seinfeld Kicks Off Netflix is a Joke Festival With Star-Studded Hollywood Bowl Show

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Netflix is a Joke, the 12-day comedy festival taking over Los Angeles with some of the biggest names in the game, kicked off on Wednesday, with Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Nate Bargatze and Sebastian Maniscalco headlining a show at the Hollywood Bowl.

In a show that Seinfeld called “one of the best nights I’ve had in my entire life,” the four comics each performed a 30-minute set to a sold-out crowd. To start, all four came out together on stage, as Seinfeld yelled, “Thank you Hollywood!”

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“I’m here with the greatest comedians we could get — that were available tonight. How is it none of us had a gig?” Seinfeld joked, noting, “We have never been on a stage together in our lives. This is our first time.”

“I’m not used to working with other people so I’m kind of out of place and trying to figure out where I belong in the group,” Maniscalco teased. Responded Seinfeld, “I used to work with three other very funny people and I got used to that.”

Seinfeld told the audience that the group had been getting “on the phone together and we’d try to figure out, ‘Well in what order are we going to do our shows?’ And we couldn’t figure it out,” explaining they had decided to choose a number one to four out of a hat. Maniscalco drew one, Bargatze two, Gaffigan three and Seinfeld four, as Gaffigan admitted, “I’ve been praying for third.” Seinfeld introduced Maniscalco, calling him, “One of my favorite comedians.”

Maniscalco’s jokes touched on turning 50 and adventures with his young kids, while Bargatze ranged from stories about his former job as a water meter reader to his father being a magician.

Gaffigan commented that he’s gotten accusations he’s on Ozempic after a recent weight loss and denied it, then revealing that he’s on similar medication Mounjaro. For those that say the medications are cheating, he responded, “I’m not playing Major League Baseball, I’m just a fat guy trying to not die.” He added, “I’m trying to enjoy being thin because I know I’m going to be fat again. This is not sustainable, this is the drug.”

And closing out the night, Seinfeld brought his signature comedic style to jokes about marriage, golfing and A.I., as he declared, “I like A.I., I like it. It can’t write this, I’ve looked at stuff, terrible. It can’t write comedy, it’s not dumb enough. You need a certain amount of dumb for this and you can’t teach that, that’s a gift.”

“We are having the best time. You have been such a great audience,” he exclaimed at one point in the set, and noted of turning 70 this week, “It sounds like a joke, it doesn’t sound real to me. I feel the same.”

At the end, all four comedians returned to the Bowl stage, as Seinfeld called to “bring out the greatest lineup of comedians I have ever played with in my life,” and left while the theme song for his new movie Unfrosted played through the venue. The group will return to the Bowl for a second show on Thursday.

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