Jerry Seinfeld Misses ‘Dominant Masculinity’

‘I’ve always wanted to be a real man. I never made it’
Jerry Seinfeld Misses ‘Dominant Masculinity’

Thought Jerry Seinfeld was done with the most bonkers press tour of 2024? 

Hold on to your Pop-Tarts because he’s still out there throwing red meat to conservative news outlets looking for something juicy to bite into. Now he’s trying to convince America to watch Unfrosted by singing the virtues of its manly men. Let’s bring back the testosterone of Jim Gaffigan and Jack McBrayer!

He didn’t say that exactly. But one reason the nostalgic Seinfeld wanted to direct the film is because he’s obsessed with that Mad Men era, at least per an interview with the Honestly with Bari Weiss podcast. “As a man…,” he began before catching himself in the act of an imaginary thought crime. “Can I say that?”

“Well, I didn’t ask your pronouns,” half-joked Weiss.

“I’ve always wanted to be a real man. I never made it,” confessed Seinfeld. “In that era, it was JFK, it was Muhammad Ali, it was Sean Connery, Howard Cosell, you can go all the way down the line. That’s a real man. I want to be like that someday. I never really grew up. You don’t want to as a comedian because it’s a childish pursuit, but I miss a dominant masculinity.”

Anticipating the blowback, Seinfeld heaved a weary sigh. “Yeah, I get the toxic, I get it, I get it,” he said, waving off the expected blowback (not from Weiss, of course). Despite the toxic whatever, Seinfeld declared, “I like a real man.” 

Like Seinfeld’s Tony the Tiger. “That's why I love Hugh Grant because he felt like one of those guys I wanted to be,” explained the comic. “He knows how to dress. He knows how to talk. He’s charming. He has stories. He’s comfortable at dinner parties, knows how to get a drink. You know what I mean? That stuff.” 

Well, sure, who doesn’t like a guy who knows how to dress? But then why didn’t Seinfeld say he likes a stylish masculinity or a confident masculinity? As things stand, you know a slew of angry male bloggers are engraving that “dominant masculinity” line on a bronze desk plate. “Men should be dominant!” they’re typing as we speak. “Jerry Seinfeld says so!”

Give Seinfeld credit for this — Weiss was intent on getting the comedian to denounce cancel culture, even going so far as to put the words in his mouth. “You would agree, I think, that there are certain places or subcultures, let’s say campuses, where it wouldn’t be that fun to play as a comic,” she offered.

But Seinfeld didn’t agree, citing a Nate Bargatze bit he’d seen recently. “It was about a man fighting an orangutan that was a thing in the 50s,” he marvels. “It was fantastic. Everyone was roaring. You’re looking at culture on a textbook page. This guy’s looking at orangutans in the 50s.” 

And so, Weiss tried again. “But you could imagine, pick your person, Louis C.K. or Shane Gillis or whoever. It’s that because of their personal behavior or even their material happening at the wrong time for the gatekeepers of the culture, they were punished for it.”

Seinfeld still wasn’t having it, though. “What you’re talking about is so irrelevant. Totally irrelevant. A lot of whining and excuse-making for ‘It’s just not funny.’”

“Really?” asked the relentless Weiss, intent on getting her intended reaction. “You don’t think that there’s been a wave of people getting the shit end of the stick over the past few years?” 

“If you’re funny, genuinely funny,” Seinfeld responded, “none of these things are difficult to overcome.”


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