Jerry Seinfeld Says the "Extreme Left" and "P.C. Crap" Are Killing TV Comedy

"When you write a script and it goes into four or five different hands, committees, groups — 'Here’s our thought about this joke.' Well, that’s the end of your comedy."

Photo: Raph_PH

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Apr 29, 2024

Jerry Seinfeld is throwing the toaster into the bathtub amid his press tour for Unfrosted, his movie about Pop-Tarts. After recently proclaiming that "the movie business is over" in his GQ profile, the comedian has gone on record with The New Yorker's Radio Hour podcast about the death of TV comedy in the age of so-called cancel culture, saying the "extreme left" and striving for political correctness are preventing another beloved sitcom like Seinfeld from being made today.

"Nothing really affects comedy. People always need it. They need it so badly and they don't get it," Seinfeld told David Remnick. "It used to be, you would 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'll 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."

Classically, he referenced an episode of Seinfeld — which aired in the days of yore, from 1989 to 1998 — and a bit that he doesn't think would make it to screens in the year 2024. "We did an episode in the nineties where Kramer decides to start a business of having homeless people pull rickshaws because, as he says, 'They're outside anyway,'" Seinfeld reflected. "Do you think I could get that episode on the air today? We would write a different joke with Kramer and the rickshaw today. We wouldn't do that joke. We'd come up with another joke. They move the gates like in the slalom. Culture — 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."

Seinfeld went on to claim that, consequently, the real comedy today is happening in the world of stand-up, where comics "really have the freedom to cross the line." The comedian explained, "Now going to see stand-up comics because we are not policed by anyone. The audience polices us. We know when we're off track. We know instantly and we adjust to it instantly. But when you write a script and it goes into four or five different hands, committees, groups — 'Here's our thought about this joke.' Well, that's the end of your comedy."

A bunch of far-right people might check out your Pop-Tarts movie now! Lest we forget that the way we consume television comedy today is entirely different than it was in the '90s, or that a lot of sitcom stuff hasn't aged well. Lamenting about not being able to make that joke today is exactly the laziness with which TV writers aren't operating on shows like The Bear, which manages to be both funny and "politically correct," as well as emotionally devastating.

Latest Coverage