Jerry Seinfeld gave a lengthy interview with The New York Times, in which he tackled almost every major issue plaguing the comedy world right now, from sexual misconduct to racism.
ON LOUIS C.K.
Seinfeld walked the line between sympathy for Louis C.K. and his victims when asked whether it was too soon for the comedian, who had been accused of and admitted to masturbating in front of women without their consent, to return to the stage.
"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?" he said. "And people, I think, figured they had that coming with Louie — he owes us that … I can’t say what he should do. You do whatever you want. If he does it wrong, he’s going to suffer. And that’s his deal."
ON BILL COSBY AND ROSEANNE BARR
Regarding the convicted sexual offender Bill Cosby and the accused racist Roseanne Barr, Seinfeld noted the swiftness with which their careers were destroyed.
"So much work, gone so fast. We’re upset at the speed of it, because it’s new. I would say about Roseanne, I never saw anything that bad happen from a finger-tap on a screen. A whole career: gone," he said. "That’s an aspect of this unease we feel, that you just wake up — ‘Oh, by the way, the Lincoln Memorial’s gone.’ ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, they took it down.’"
Asked about Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special Nanette, he was effusive.
He said: "Loved it. She did a beautiful job, and the way she braided it with the art history she studied in school, that made it fascinating and fantastic."
Asked about the ensuing debate over a stand-up special versus a one-man show, he said: "But isn’t that great, that she stretched the form of stand-up to encompass that? This is why people are excited about stand-up now. And how valuable is that, for other people that are going through or have gone through what she has? To see, here’s a person that’s thrived despite it. An incredible contribution. That’s the thing that’s quite powerful about what we’re going through. We’re figuring it out as we go along. And there’s something very stimulating and empowering about that. We don’t really know what the rules are. We’re trying to make them up, other people make up rules and want everybody else to go by their rules."