Jerry Seinfeld Rants on "Phony" Talk Show Pre-Interviews, Comedy's New Political Correctness

Lloyd Bishop/NBC
Jerry Seinfeld and Seth Meyers

"I do this joke about the way people need to justify their cell phone: 'I need to have it with me because people are so important.' I say, 'Well, they don't seem very important the way you scroll through them like a gay French king.' "

Jerry Seinfeld doesn't always go on talk shows — but when he does, he's not doing a pre-interview. 

Just after first sitting down on Late Night with Seth Myers, the comedian clarified to the host that he really didn't want to be there at all, but the late-night show's producers were quite insistent. Still, Seinfeld protested the pre-interview stage because, well, he doesn't need it.

"Here's how a talk show works: It looks like he and I are chatting. ... It's all totally phony," he told the audience of the behind-the-scenes planning for such appearances. "That's fine when you're a new, young comic or an actor or actress with nothing. ... But I've done a few things. And I feel like you want this job, right? The talk show guy, the desk? I feel like you should do the work!"

When asked about the political correctness of comedy — a point he recently discussed on ESPN Radio — he was happy to give another example.

"They keep moving the lines in for no reason. ... There's a creepy PC thing out there that really bothers me," he said, echoing fellow guest David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. "I do this joke about the way people need to justify their cell phone: 'I need to have it with me because people are so important.' I say, 'Well, they don't seem very important the way you scroll through them like a gay French king.' "

When the joke wasn't well-received, "I thought, are you kidding me?" said Seinfeld. "This is a serious thing — I could imagine a time when people say, 'Well, that's offensive to suggest that a gay person moves their hands in a flourishing motion, and you now need to apologize.' ... 'Explain and defend' is not 'apologize.'"

He also noted his genuine excitement that the Seinfeld is coming to Hulu, complete with the few minutes of each episode that are cut for syndication airings: "Any time you get a lot of money and you don't have to do anything, that's great! But did you tell Hulu it's the same shows? We're not making any more shows!"

And though Meyers complimented Seinfeld on the series' timelessness (despite its dated look), the comedian told the host, "There's nothing we can do that in ten years, we don't look ridiculous," before making fun of Meyers' hair.

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