Comedian Jerry Seinfeld amassed millions of fans during the decade-long run of his NBC-TV series, "Seinfeld."
And several thousand of Seinfeld's followers will show up tonight at his two sold-out shows at Santa Rosa's Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.
But within the comedian's huge fan base, there is a very specific subset that is qualified to give an expert opinion on Seinfeld's comedy — other professional comedians.
"Jerry is a real craftsman. He works at it," said "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Dana Carvey, who will perform May 31 at Wells Fargo Center.
Seinfeld, who declined our request for an interview, sets a high standard for the entire comedy profession, Carvey explained.
"He bemoans comedians being lazy and not working at their craft, which is kind of true," Carvey said.
The success of the "Seinfeld" TV series gives its star the freedom to explore his craft as a stand-up comic as he sees fit, Carvey said.
"Jerry is playing with house money now," Carvey said. "Talk about a guy who's just having fun. No pressure."
Another professional comedian who admires Seinfeld is Brian Regan, who has performed repeatedly at Wells Fargo Center, including a sold-out show last year, and will return there in December.
"When I first started, I auditioned in a comedy club in Fort Lauderdale, and I got to see Jerry Seinfeld perform before he had ever done the 'Tonight' show. I just remember being in awe," Regan said in a previous interview with The Press Democrat.
"When I moved to New York a few years later, by that time, Seinfeld had become huge in the comedy world, but he didn't have his TV series yet," Regan added. "So any comedian knew who Jerry Seinfeld was. But the average Joe Blow didn't necessarily know."
Regan said when he asked a bartender back then to turn up to volume on the TV for a Seinfeld "Tonight" appearance, the barkeep said, "Who's Jerry STEIN-feld?"
Now everyone knows who Seinfeld is. The loyalty he commands among his fellow comedians and comic actors is still evident with the success of his current Internet series on the Crackle website, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."
The series' guest list says it all: Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, Mel Brooks and more.
<i>You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See his ARTS blog at http://arts.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</i>