Live special was taped in New York in March, and is a reminder of the realities of life pre-quarantine

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Jerry Seinfeld is still at his best when he's talking about nothing. 

In his new Netflix special "23 Hours to Kill," Seinfeld marvels at the mundane. He celebrates the Pop Tart as a miracle of modern science, breaks down the inanities and intricacies of modern conversation and laments the annoyances of, well, everything.

On one hand, he's never sounded more cranky. But that crankiness is where he finds his center.  

Seinfeld is a scientist of comedy, and he's honed his act to hyper-focus on the minute details of everyday language, such as differences between staying "in" and going "out," and the small gap between things that "suck" and things that are "great." It's safe to say "23 Hours to Kill" is on the front half of that equation. 

The special was taped at New York's Beacon Theatre in early March, which given our current state of affairs might as well have been five years ago.

Seinfeld opens by talking about the exasperation of going out and getting together with friends, a luxury none of us currently have, but he's speaking truths that are conveniently forgotten when romanticizing life pre-quarantine. Yes, we want to go out, but once we're allowed to, it will be just as tantalizing to stay in and not deal with all the things that routinely drive us crazy. 

Seinfeld, now 65, shifts in the second half of the special to talk about married life, offering up relationship observations that again zero in on specifics, such as the way tone of voice becomes critical in every conversation.

He's one of the most successful comedians of all time, but here he's just a married guy who's still figuring things out. He's a master at bridging the (admittedly gigantic) gap between himself and the audience, and in "23 Hours to Kill," he's as sharp and studied as ever.

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill'

GRADE: B+

Rated TV-PG: light language

Running time: 60 minutes

On Netflix

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