What’s the Deal with Seinfeld Carrying Water for All These Toxic Celebrities?
If there was one comic who looked like a decent human being in Rolling Stone’s takedown of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, it was Jerry Seinfeld. According to anonymous staffers, Seinfeld told Fallon he should apologize after inappropriately scolding a cue-card holder. Way to stick up for the little guy, Jerry! But then Seinfeld reached out to Rolling Stone with a correction: He didn’t defend anyone after all. “This is so stupid,” read Seinfeld’s statement. “I remember this moment quite well. I teased Jimmy about a flub, and we all had a fun laugh about how rarely Jimmy is thrown off. It was not uncomfortable at all. Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events.”
Got it. It was all good fun with Jimmy Fallon. And that’s not surprising coming from Seinfeld, who has spent his post-sitcom years sticking up for comedians who have engaged in some objectively crummy behavior. Fallon is just the latest — here are more of Seinfeld’s greatest defense arguments…
After the one-time Kramer went bonkers at a Los Angeles comedy club and screamed the n word at heckling patrons, Seinfeld thought it would be a good idea to bring Richards onto David Letterman’s show to make things right. Richards’ apology was rambling and bizarre, but Seinfeld wouldn’t stand for any audience snickering. “Stop laughing, it’s not funny!” he chided the Letterman audience, but like warning people not to snicker at a fart in church, it just made things worse. When Letterman pressed Richards on what else he would do to make amends, Seinfeld jumped in for the rescue: “I know how shattered he is about this. He deserves a chance to apologize.”
After Chappelle went on Saturday Night Live to proclaim the notion of Jews running Hollywood is “not a crazy thing to think,” the comic was denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for perpetuating anti-Semitism. What was Jewish Jerry Seinfeld’s opinion? “I did think the comedy was well-executed,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It provokes a conversation, which hopefully is productive.”
Soon after C.K. confessed to a number of transgressions involving female comics, masturbation and power dynamics, he got right back on stage again. Did Seinfeld think it was too soon? In a word, no. “It’s the way he did it that I think people didn’t like,” he told The New York Times. “Some people didn’t like that he’s doing it at all. We know the routine: The person does something wrong. The person’s humiliated. They’re exiled. They suffer, we want them to suffer. We love the tumble, we love the crash and bang of the fall. And then we love the crawl-back. The grovel. Are you going to grovel? How long are you going to grovel? Are you going to cry?”
If it’s a crime, let the cops handle it, says Seinfeld. Otherwise, “I can’t say what he should do. You do whatever you want.”
Ironically, the one comedian Seinfeld believes actually did something wrong is Jerry Seinfeld. A few years back on — you guessed it — The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, he offered a mea culpa for all that sexy honey business in The Bee Movie. “I apologize for what seems to be a certain uncomfortable subtle sexual aspect of the Bee Movie,” he said. “It really was not intentional, but after it came out, I realized this is really not appropriate for children. The bee seemed to have a thing for the girl. And we don’t really want to pursue that as an idea in children’s entertainment.”
The lesson here? When bees do something weird, awful or creepy, apologize. When it’s comics? Seinfeld has your back.