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Jerry Seinfeld Called Out After Blaming 'Extreme Left' And 'PC Crap' For Destroying Comedy

The 'Seinfeld' star claimed on 'The New Yorker Radio Hour' that worrying about 'offending' people has ruined TV comedy and brought about the demise of sitcoms.

Jerry Seinfeld
Matt Jelonek/Getty Images

TV legend Jerry Seinfeld is under fire after blaming the "extreme left" for the supposed demise of comedy.

During a recent appearance on The New Yorker Radio Hour, Seinfeld decried the demise of sitcoms, blaming it on the fear of offending people.

Seinfeld explained that at a time when we need comedy more than ever, there simply isn't much to choose from, which Seinfeld blames on "PC crap."

Asked by The New Yorker's David Remnick about how current events affect his comedy, Seinfeld said:

“Nothing really affects comedy. People always need it. They need it so badly and they don’t get it.”
“It used to be, you would go home at the end of the day, most people would go, ’Oh, ‘Cheers’ is on. Oh, ‘MASH’ is on. Oh, ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ is on. ‘All in the Family’ is on.'"
"You just expected, ‘there’ll be some funny stuff we can watch on TV tonight.’ Well, guess what — where is it?”

He then laid the blame on left-wing politics.

“This is the result of the extreme left and PC crap and people worrying so much about offending other people.”

This take, of course, ignores two huge elephants in the room: One, the impact that streaming has had on television, which has changed tastes by allowing comedy that would never pass network censors.

Perhaps even more important is the impact of the sweeping wave of corporate mergers in Hollywood in recent years, which has consolidated nearly every network under the umbrella of a tiny number of mega-corporations.

These megacorps are often run by business executives like HBO Max's David Zaslav, who run them like normal businesses selling normal products, instead of what the entertainment industry actually is: a business whose "products" are inherently speculative gambles that cannot make a single dime for months or even years after the money is spent on production.

This is why there are eleventy billion sure-thing Marvel movies and practically no comedy shows, even on a channel like Comedy Central, which was gobbled up by a merger between Viacom and CBS in 2020, for example, and now shows nothing but reruns.

This is also why companies like HBO Max under Zaslav delete hotly anticipated movies out of existence and then take them as a tax write-off for an immediate payday that pleases shareholders instead of audiences.

But never mind all of that—all of which Seinfeld, as a titan of the industry, should be well versed in, especially since every union in Hollywood was on strike for months last year talking about how this sea change is affecting their jobs.

Seinfeld says comedy's dying basically because you can't, for instance, make fun of homeless people anymore.

As he put it to Remnick:

“We did an episode of [‘Seinfeld’] in the nineties where Kramer decides to start a business of having homeless people pull rickshaws because, as he says, ‘They’re outside anyway.'"
"Do you think I could get that episode on the air today?…We would write a different joke with Kramer and the rickshaw today. We wouldn’t do that joke. We’d come up with another joke."

Yes, cultural mores have definitely changed. But having to come up with different jokes is hardly the same as a show being canceled.

In any case, Seinfeld's hot take on the state of comedy didn't go over very well with many online.

Several people pointed out that Seinfeld's co-creator Larry David has had a series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, that relies on offensive humor for literal decades, including a season that just aired this year.

Anyway, Seinfeld's latest project, Unfrosted, about the invention of the Pop-Tart, drops May 3 on Netflix, a streaming platform infamous for canceling its comedy series.