Jerry Seinfeld Draws Right-Wing Praise for Comments on ‘Extreme Left’

Jerry Seinfeld hit some right-wing favorite talking points over the weekend with his comments that political correctness from the “extreme left” is “policing” modern sitcoms and has led to their demise.

In a new interview with the New Yorker ahead of his 70th birthday on Monday, the comedian explained his theory about why there’s no “funny stuff” to watch on TV anymore. “Nothing really affects comedy,” he said, “People always need it. They need it so badly and they don’t get it.” Instead of getting sitcoms like M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and All in the Family, audiences miss out, he said, as a “result of the extreme left and P.C. crap, and people worrying so much about offending other people.”

To get their comedy now, people are “going to see standup comics because we are not policed by anyone,” he continued, “The audience polices us. We know when we’re off track.” The comments set off a barrage of right-wing agreement, with anchors on the Fox News-competitor Newsmax reporting on his comments as “a great point.” Breitbart echoed the sentiment, tweeting, “He’s right.” And conservative commentator Benny Johnson shared the clip with the overheated caption, “This moment is powerful.”

Seinfeld also told the New Yorker that stand-up comedy still works because comics “know instantly” whether or not a joke works and can “adjust to [their audience] instantly.”

“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,” Seinfeld added.

A look back at some of his earlier comments on a similar subject adds some context, if not clarity. In 2015, Seinfeld sat down for an episode of The Herd with Colin Cowherd podcast, where he explained his aversion to performing stand-up on college campuses. “I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC,’” he said on the show.

After giving an example of his teenage daughter using the word “sexist,” he concluded that young people “just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist’; ‘That’s sexist’; ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Seinfeld then gave a supportive nod to Louis C.K., who was receiving backlash at the time for performing jokes about child molestation in his Saturday Night Live monologue—before that comedian was exposed as a #MeToo predator. Notably, Seinfeld was the one comedian who did not go along with Louis C.K. and Ricky Gervais when they started throwing around the “N-word” during an infamous 2011 conversation on HBO that also included Chris Rock.

Of course, Seinfeld’s own comedy is far from incendiary. Aside from the typical jokes about race or women in Seinfeld that were considered acceptable in the 80s and 90s, his comedy is generally profanity and controversy-free. In at least one of his stand-up shows from the past decade (an earlier time he might agree was a less “PC” than today), he spends a chunk of his set making jokes about pop-tarts.

By slamming of “political correctness” while promoting his upcoming Netflix movie Unfrosted on the same topic, Seinfeld may not have said anything original about comedy today, but he’s probably made some new friends.

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