​Jerry Seinfeld: "A laugh is such a pure thing"

Design plays a role in many aspects of our lives, even if something is just built for laughs. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld shares his insights with Anthony Mason.(This story was originally broadcast on May 31, 2015.)

Jerry Seinfeld is obsessed with automobiles.

"Pretty snappy lookin', isn't it?" he said, of the 1985 Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole. "In the mid-'80s, if you wanted to show off a little, this is what you would get."

It was his wife who suggested he host an American version of the BBC hit, "Top Gear": "And then I started thinking, 'Well, if I wanted to do a show with cars that was funny, well, I know every funny person in the world!'"

That's how he hatched the idea for his Internet series, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

"The hard part was finding anyone who wanted to do it," he told Mason.

"You actually met resistance on this?"

"Every single place I went."

And what would they say to him? "I don't understand what you're trying to do."

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A correspondent and a comedian in a car getting coffee.
CBS News

He was trying to create a show where comedians could talk about their favorite subject: comedy. He pitched every Internet outlet he could think of with the idea, and none of them wanted it. "And I thought, 'What kind of track record do you have to have?'"

Sony's Website, Crackle, finally picked it up:

At the Crackle upfront, Seinfeld told the audience, "When you get to a certain point in the business, what a man is looking for in a network is the same thing he's looking for in his underwear: He's looking for a little bit of support and a little bit of freedom. And that's exactly what Crackle offered."


And Seinfeld's having the last laugh. "Comedians in Cars," now in its sixth season, has been viewed nearly 100 million times.

Seinfeld says when two comedians get together, there's some kind of chemical connection: "So part of it, to me, is this kind of social experiment of, like, I sometimes think of it as I'm just trying to isolate a gene here and put it on display. I go, 'Look at these weird people!'

"I love comedy," he said. "And as much as I love it, I love talking about it."

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Jerry Seinfeld with correspondent Anthony Mason.
CBS News

"You like breaking it down and you like the anatomy of it?" Mason asked.

"Yes. And I also like that, as much as I know, the whole thing is still just this smoke ring of nothing that nobody can really seem to nail down."

At heart, Seinfeld considers himself a standup comic. He often likes to make surprise appearances at his favorite clubs.