Jerry Seinfeld says 'the extreme left and P.C. crap' are hurting TV comedy

Ahead of his stint at the Hollywood Bowl and the release of his Netflix comedy about Pop-Tarts’ origin this week, Jerry Seinfeld reflected on the “Seinfeld” storylines that wouldn’t be aired today and other ways “the extreme left” is influencing comedy.

In an interview with the New Yorker, the comedian said some of his jokes from the ‘90s would be subject to “cancel culture” today. Of one plot from “Seinfeld” involving Kramer’s business venture to have “homeless people pull rickshaws” because “they’re outside anyway,” the comedian asked, “Do you think I could get that episode on the air today?”

When the New Yorker‘s David Remnick said he couldn’t watch “Unfrosted” without thinking about the Israel-Hamas war and other humanitarian issues across the world, Seinfeld dismissed the idea that comedy could or should be affected or diluted by world events.

“Nothing really affects comedy. People always need it,” he said. “They need it so badly and they don’t get it.”

Seinfeld went on to reflect on the lack of comfort sitcoms like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “MASH,” “Cheers” and “All in the Family,” which guaranteed audiences had something funny to watch. He said he doesn’t think that’s the case anymore.

“This is the result of the extreme left and P.C. crap, and people worrying so much about offending other people,” Seinfeld continued.

He noted that if audiences are looking for edgier comedy, they have to turn to stand-up comics because they “are not policed by anyone,” adding that they know when they’re “off track.”

When Remnick, who had previously asked Seinfeld about his longtime collaborator Larry David and the recent finale of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” wondered how David could pull off provocative, irreverent comedy today, Seinfeld said he had been “grandfathered” in.

David, who began his career in the ‘70s, can break the “rules” in place today, according to Seinfeld, because he had been making comedy for decades before those rules existed. Seinfeld said he doesn’t think a younger person could start out today making television shows like “Seinfeld” or “Curb,” even though audiences seek out boundary-pushing content on HBO and its competitors, as opposed to network sitcoms.

“HBO knows that’s what people come here for, but they’re not smart enough to figure out, ‘How do we do this now? Do we take the heat, or just not be funny?’ And what they’ve decided to be is, ‘Well, we’re not going to do comedies anymore.’”

The comedian said he thinks younger stand-up comedians are pushing the envelope, like he and his peers did before, and commended Nate Bargatze, Ronny Chieng, Brian Simpson, Mark Normand and Sam Morril on their work.

Seinfeld is also continuing his own stand-up gigs, including his performances at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday and Thursday with Bargatze, Jim Gaffigan and Sebastian Maniscalco for Netflix Is a Joke Fest.

Beyond his stand-up, he made his directorial debut with “Unfrosted,” a film that follows the race to make Pop-Tarts. He also wrote, starred in and produced the film, which premieres Friday on Netflix.

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