Jerry Seinfeld Responds To Dave Chappelle’s Controversial SNL Monologue

Jerry Seinfeld was largely supportive of Dave Chappelle's SNL monologue, but says there needs to be more conversations.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Jerry Seinfeld shared his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s recent Saturday Night Live monologue. The 49-year-old came under fire over his comments about the Jewish community during his opening routine, which critics maligned for normalizing antisemitism. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedy legend was asked to weigh in on the situation and if he thought the set was funny.

“I did think the comedy was well-executed,” Jerry Seinfeld said about Dave Chappelle. “But I think the subject matter calls for a conversation that I don’t think I’d want to have in this venue.” When pressed about whether his counterpart’s words made him uncomfortable, the Netflix star simply said he hopes it creates a productive conversation. However, he won’t be the one initiating it. “I don’t have a close relationship with him [Chappelle]. We’re friends but it’s not a close relationship.”

The SNL monologue Jerry Seinfeld was asked about began with Dave Chappelle unfolding a paper. He then proceeded to read a statement that said, “I denounce antisemitism in all its forms. And I stand with my friends in the Jewish community.” But then the 49-year-old added, “And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.” The rest of his set was filled with jokes at the expense of Jewish people which most viewers found extremely offensive.

dave chappelle
Dave Chappelle on SNL

The well-executed comedy that Jerry Seinfeld referred to in Dave Chapelle’s monologue included this line: “I’ve been to Hollywood… This is just what I saw. It’s a lot of Jews. Like, a lot. But that doesn’t mean anything!” the comedian said. “There’s a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri. Doesn’t mean they run the place.” The 49-year-old added that he understood how someone could “adopt the delusion” that Jewish people run show business.

“It’s not a crazy thing to think. But it’s a crazy thing to say out loud in a climate like this,” Dave Chappelle joked. So far, the comedian’s 15-minute monologue has garnered 3.2 million views in less than 24 hours on YouTube. It also featured jibes such as, “Ye broke the show business rules of perception. If they’re Black, then it’s a gang. If they’re Italian, it’s a mob. But if they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never speak about it.”

Along with Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart also weighed in on Dave Chappelle’s monologue during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. But instead of slamming his friend, the former Daily Show host said he thought the monologue was constructive. “It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things,” Stewart said via Variety. He also said he’s often called antisemitic because he’s against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Stewart added that he’s often called other things based on opinions he has about other things. “Whether it be comedy or discussion or anything else, if we don’t have the wherewithal to meet each other with what’s reality then how do we move forward?” he said, sharing Jerry Seinfeld’s sentiment about Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue. He added that if everyone just shuts things down and retreats to their corners of misinformation, nothing will ever be resolved.

Meanwhile, Jerry Seinfeld, away from the Dave Chappelle drama, is celebrating 10 years of his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The road-trip talk show sees the Seinfeld star and his pals driving in vintage cars and talking about the comedy business, while on their way to grab some coffee. The series premiered on Crackle in July 2012 and later moved on to Netflix streaming service in 2018.