Jerry Seinfeld and Fred Armisen Grab Coffee in Portland

The Portland episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee premiered today. It's awkward, it's funny, and it's worth a watch.

By Marty Patail December 4, 2014

Fred Armisen and Jerry Seinfeld at Coava's Brew Bar on SE Grand.

Jerry Seinfeld's quietly amazing web show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, has no problem booking guests. Since premiering in 2012, Seinfeld has swapped jokes and sipped joe with the brightest stars of comedy, from the old-school legends like Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, David Letterman, and Larry David, to Aziz Ansari, Tina Fey, Louis CK, and Bill Burr.

It was only a matter of time until he got around to having coffee with SNL alum and Portlandia co-creator Fred Armisen. Portland is, after all, one of Seinfeld's "favorite, favorite cities in America."

Filmed this September in Portland (well-documented at the time in a flurry of giddy tweets and cell pics), the episode follows the familiar format: Seinfeld, cool and relaxed, picks Armisen up in a beautiful classic car, an adorable, olive green 1965 Saab Monte Carlo 850. ("The seatbelts give you the same amount of safety as a cardigan sweater would.") The two take a mini tour of Portland, grabbing coffee at Coava Coffee Roasters, lunch at Wolf & Bear, and finally doing a little shopping at taxidermy mecca Paxton Gate, with Seinfeld steering both the car and the conversation for a more reserved Armisen. 

The unspoken conceit of the show—that there's absolutely nothing remarkable about two huge celebrities casually grabbing coffee—is somehow even more absurd in humble, beplaided Portland. Still, Seinfeld—rocking trademark normcore jeans and white sneakers—is the everyman's comedian, and is at his most likeable and unpretentious. "Do you think the Earl of Sandwich really invented the sandwhich?" he muses at one point.

It's never outright hilarious and there are a few awkward silences, but the episode has its moments. They talk about music and comedy and art. They talk about Game of Thrones. They poke fun at a hipster with orange glasses. They talk about fixed gear bikes (Spoiler: Seinfeld thinks they're stupid.) And, of course, they profess their deep love of good coffee.

Three moments to savor:

On waiting
A "Hipster Service Wait-O-Meter" that appears on the screen as a running gag whenever the pair is waiting for their purchases. With the counter approaching 7 minutes at Coava, Seinfeld confusedly asks, "What day is it? It's Sunday?"

On fame
When Armisen somewhat awkwardly acknowledges onlookers at the next table, Seinfeld suggests he was unfriendly to them.
Armisen: "I can't assume they were happy to see me."
Seinfeld: "Yes you can. Yes you can, Fred. You Know why? You have your own show. When you have your own show, everyone's happy to see you."

On bats
Fred: "I like bats. They look cool. I like that they're not birds, but they fly. And I like that they're black."
Seinfeld: "They look like hamsters that had an idea."

The full episode is free online. Check it out here.

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