Content Crush: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee has been the best show not on television since it started released webisodes in 2012.
The formula is simple: Comedian superstar Jerry Seinfeld, a self-professed obsessive for cars, comedians and coffee, is featured in every episode as both co-star and host. Each week, he picks up a fellow comedian (guests range from old-school giants like Mel Brooks and Don Rickles to new faces like Trevor Noah and Aziz Ansari) in a classic car chosen to reflect the attributes of his guest (for Louis C.K., a topless, orange, hilarious-looking Fiat; for Jim Carey, an audaciously wild 1976 Lamborghini) and takes them for a drive, a cup of coffee, and a chat. Every week, a new guest, new car, new coffee joint. Each week, an incredible conversation about comedy, coffee, careers, and life.
The series ‘airs’ online for free, and on the digital streaming service Crackle. Before it’s 3rd season even aired, the series reached 25 million views. That may sound like a lot, but ‘traditional talent’ like Jerry Seinfeld don’t typically do well in the online video environment – lets keep in mind that he’s a 61-year-old, network TV billionaire. The internet likes to birth it’s own stars and promote unknowns more than support the big guys. Big guys aren’t ‘real’. The internet likes ‘real’. In fact, Jerry’s mainstream pitches were turned down by major networks and brands like Starbucks. In the end, he found a home on Sony-owned Crackle with support from Acura.
For a study in online success and the changing of the guard, watch his interview with YouTube sensation ‘Miranda‘ (in character), who he admits his daughters love more than he can understand.
What can we learn from this series?
Humans are interesting. Watching two people having a conversation will always be interesting. Jerry, of course, knows this and is continually reminded of this every time a residual check for his long-running network series comes in the mail.
What this series proves to me is that good content doesn’t have to be flashy – it has to be human. We are all, at our core, looking to learn more about each other and the world, through authentic conversations. I think what makes it work so well is that the formula is consistent enough that I can enter into each episode easily – knowing what to expect – but that one changing variable (the guest) will show me something new.
Of course, it helps that that new element is a celebrity that I a) already know and like, or b) trust will make me laugh because Jerry likes them. Jerry is also an essential element here – he is consistently funny, shockingly casual, and appropriately inquisitive. I will admit that I didn’t appreciate his genius until I watched this series because I never enjoyed Seinfeld. Here, I’ve become obsessed with his humour, attitude, confidence and curiosity. It’s easy to love people who don’t care if you like them.
- Create a consistent formula or base structure for your videos
- Switch out one element each week to keep it new and fresh
- Teach through conversation, rather than a lesson. If you’re curious about something, chances are your audience is too. Ask questions, get answers, ask more questions.
- Keep releases consistent, even if that means you release only 8 at a time (like a season).
- Show your personality. This series could have easily been presented via a standard talk show format. Instead, Jerry took his friends for coffee and a car ride because he likes those things and he knew almost everyone could relate to them – both guests and viewers.