Vehicles | October 29, 2021 2:50 pm

In Malibu, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Gets Ugly

A low-key outing started by Jerry Seinfeld and Spike Feresten has turned into a fight with the city

A photo of Malibu, California from above, showing beachfront houses along the ocean
A petty battle is being waged in the parking lot of an unremarkable shopping mall in Malibu.
Julian Myles/Unsplash

On any given weekday, Malibu Village looks like any other higher-end strip mall in the U.S. There’s a Chipotle, a Lululemon, a Sephora, as well as some local gems, like the Malibu Kitchen and Broad Street Oyster Co. But on Sundays, it’s become a battleground between car guys and the city. 

As Charles Fleming details in a new story for the Los Angeles Times, what started years ago as a cars and coffee meetup between comedian Jerry Seinfeld and writer Spike Feresten, who wrote for Seinfeld and currently hosts the podcast Spike’s Car Radio, spiraled out of control as pandemic-induced lockdowns made people seek out open-air fun.

“Spike Feresten and I invented driving to Malibu Kitchen in a cool car to get coffee 20 years ago,” Seinfeld told the LA Times. “I’m not surprised the idea has taken over the entire city.”

Well, it’s taken over the parking lot of Malibu Village, at least. As Fleming tells it, a five-car meetup in the morning became 200-300 cars during the pandemic. The city stepped in, barricading the lot in the morning, but now car enthusiasts are simply coming later in the day, filling up the spaces and hanging around for hours, reportedly leading to a significant decrease in business at the various stores and restaurants. 

City officials are blaming the high-profile car guys who show up — including Feresten, Jay Leno, Smoking Tire podcast host Matt Farah and others. In response, the Porsche and Mercedes owners say it’s not an official event, and anyway it wouldn’t be such a big deal if they hadn’t started blocking the lot in the morning. 

Adding fuel to the fire are social media posts, like weekly Instagram reports from Feresten.

“There are a lot of theories and some rare photographic evidence of a mythical car show every Sunday at the Malibu Countrymart at 10am,” he wrote in a recent post. “The locals told me it was a legend, a lie, but I did not believe them. So I hid in the bushes in front of a Chipotle hoping to catch a glimpse of this almost never before seen event. Well bingo! I struck gold. I saw Jay Leno and his Maserati. I saw Matt Farah on the new Livewire EV. And I saw myself, yes me, in a GT2RS!”

That’s quite a different tone than in the Times story, where he’s quoted saying, “The more we tell people to stay away, the more they show up.”

I’m sure the city buys that line, too.