Jerry Seinfeld opened his first Minneapolis show in five years by kissing up to the crowd.
"If they made me leave New York, I would live here," he said Friday to thunderous applause.
It was the last sunny line he would utter.
Seinfeld, 69, has made a career out of being cranky — and he's not about to transform into a cockeyed optimist. During the first of four shows at the Orpheum Theatre, he whined about cell phones, meteorologists, golf carts, raisins, TV dinners and chopsticks. But he also makes it clear that he's way too cool, and way too successful, to truly blow a gasket.
"When I don't enjoy something, it does not bother me," he said after sharing details from a family vacation that was spoiled by the kids throwing expensive cashews at guests from their hotel balcony.
As usual, he avoided hot-button issues. The closest he came to being topical or controversial was when he poked fun at explorers who perished during their journey to the Titanic wreck. The few audience members who groaned were quickly mollified by a bit on the ridiculousness of Jet Skis.
Seinfeld, dressed in a designer suit and occasionally moving across the stage like a caffeinated Kramer, remains committed to mundane madness.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
No one does it better, with the possible exception of Jim Gaffigan, who Seinfeld will be touring with in November. Minneapolis audiences are getting the lesser-known, but always reliable Mario Joyner as an opener.
Seinfeld's 70-minute set included advice on how to maintain a healthy marriage, which basically came down to men being as quiet as possible. The long bit included some polished, smart jokes, but this was worn territory.
Seinfeld's shows aren't known for their spontaneity, but there were a couple surprises during a brief Q&A with fans seated near the front.
Seinfeld revealed that he's writing the foreword for a new book from his former "Seinfeld" co-star Michael Richards, who was all but blackballed from comedy after he uttered a racial slur during a 2006 club performance.
Seinfeld also honored a request to recite his famous "Hello, Newman" greeting, throwing in some tips on how it should be delivered.
Seinfeld probably hates doing old "Seinfeld" lines — which means he probably kind of loves it, too.
Seinfeld will close out his time in the Twin Cities with 7 and 9:30 p.m. shows Saturday. Limited seats may still be available.