Jerry Seinfeld Destroying His Iconic Comedy Legacy?

By Charlene Badasie | Published

jerry seinfeld

The short answer to that very debatable headline is no. Jerry Seinfeld recently made headlines for his comments about the state of comedy. Speaking to The New Yorker while promoting his new Netflix movie Unfrosted, the legendary comedian candidly shared his thoughts. “Nothing really affects comedy,” he said. “People always need it. They need it so badly, and they don’t get it.” He then elaborated further.

What He Said

“It used to be, you go home at the end of the day, most people would go, ‘Oh, Cheers is on. Oh, M*A*S*H is on. Oh, Mary Tyler Moore is on. All in the Family is on. You just expected, ‘There will be some funny stuff we can watch on TV tonight.’ Well, guess what? Where is it? This is the result of the extreme left, and P.C. crap, and people worrying so much about offending other people,” he added.

“When you write a script, and it goes into four or five different hands, committees, groups, [who say], ‘Here’s our thought about this joke,’ well, that’s the end of your comedy,” Jerry Seinfeld explained.

People were most likely bothered by the statement that cited extreme left and political correctness as the reasons comedy has become so complicated. 

Curb Your Enthusiasm

As expected, thousands of people took to the internet to voice their displeasure, pointing to several shows pushing PC culture’s boundaries in their comedy, such as Family Guy, South Parkand It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. 

However, Jerry Seinfeld explained how they made it work in that same interview. If people had listened with more of an open mind, they would have caught it.

Using Curb Your Enthusiasm as an example, Jerry Seinfeld theorized that the series got away with its offensive comedy in later seasons because it’s been around since before it was frowned upon.

“Larry [David] was grandfathered in,” he said. “He’s old enough so that, ‘I don’t have to observe those rules because I started before you made those rules.’ If Larry was 35, he couldn’t get away with [it].”

Seinfeld Knows Things Are Changing

However, most people just missed his entire point about the state of comedy due to his choice of words. Would the backlash have been so severe if Jerry Seinfeld had omitted the “extreme left” phrase from his thoughts on the end comedy?

Not to mention, his comments are not sweeping. Seinfeld acknowledged the shift in comedy, stating he was confident enough to keep making it work.

“The gates are moving. Your job is to be agile and clever enough that wherever they put the gates, I’m going to make the gate,” Jerry Seinfeld explained. It seems like a simple case of differing opinions and works being taken out of context. Unfortunately, the situation escalated very quickly, with some stating that the comedian was out of touch with contemporary viewers. 

Seinfeld Is One Of The Greats

jerry seinfeld

With so many accusatory headlines, it’s easy to think that Jerry Seinfeld may have destroyed his legacy. However, the current controversy is a minor blip in a storied career of success that no one can deny.

Seinfeld is considered one of the greatest comedians of all time, known for his observational humor and unique comedic style. He first gained recognition after his debut on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1981.

Eight years later, Jerry Seinfeld teamed up with Larry David to create the sitcom Seinfeld, which ran for nine seasons on NBC and is widely regarded as the most successful comedy series in television history.

Seinfeld’s comedy (stand-up and on-screen) often focuses on the mundane details of everyday life, finding humor in the most ordinary situations.

His Legacy Is Secure

His impeccable delivery, calm confidence, and sarcastic wit made him a beloved figure in the comedy world, and that’s unlikely to change.

In addition to his work on his self-titled sitcom, Seinfeld has also released several successful stand-up specials, including Jerry Before Seinfeld and 23 Hours to Kill, both of which showcase his enduring comedic talent.

He has also hosted the popular web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which has earned over 100 million views and has been praised for its artful and complex approach to the interview format.

Moreover, Jerry Seinfeld’s legacy in comedy is undeniable, with many contemporary comedians citing him as a major influence. So, his legacy is secure.

Source: The New Yorker