In a revealing conversation, Jerry Seinfeld tells Brian Williams he's observed in himself behavior that makes him think he may have autism.
"I think on a very drawn-out scale, I think I'm on the spectrum," said Seinfeld. "Basic social engagement is really a struggle. I'm very literal, when people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don't know what they're saying. But I don't see it as-- as dysfunctional. I just think of it as an alternate mindset."
Seinfeld, who sat down with Williams to talk about the premiere of the fifth season of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” added that it's comedians with whom he feels most at home.
“They’re the only kind of people that I feel completely relaxed around.”
Seinfeld's popular web series premiered in 2012 with an impressive roster of entertainers.
In the very first episode, Seinfeld drove a 1952 Volkswagen Beetle to grab a coffee with the man who’s been there from the beginning, “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David. From there, he had a run-in with the law in a 1969 Lamborghini Miura with Chris Rock, let Sarah Jessica Parker take the wheel in a 1976 Ford Country Squire, and reminisced about the early days with Jay Leno in a 1949 Porsche 356/2.
“It’s kind of an interesting sub-breed of humanity,” he said. “I wanted to see if I could capture it and show people, ‘Look at this group of people. Aren’t they unusual?’”
After starring in a now-revered sitcom and mastering the art of the stand-up, Seinfeld had another idea.
“All comedy is distillation. So I thought, ‘What if you took a two-hour conversation and shrunk it down to 14 minutes? What would you get?’” Seinfeld said. “And I thought, ‘Well, with certain people, I think you’d get something.’”
It was an experiment, he added: “I didn’t know that this could be anything.”
When Seinfeld first dreamed up the show, he was told to keep the episodes short for the digital universe, a place filled with grumpy cat videos and short attention spans. But he broke the rules and went long. His episode with Louis C.K., for example, topped out at 22 minutes. And it looks like he was right — Seinfeld says the average viewer tunes in for 19 minutes.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to who God decided to give a sense of humor to,” he told Williams. “You just find it in your stocking … and these people that took it and just didn’t want to do anything else in life but play with that toy, I’m endlessly fascinated and intrigued by them.”
The fifth season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” premieres on Thursday.