Missing the Point: Jerry Seinfeld is Killing Comedy, Not Political Correctness – by Ted Pettingell

(via realdanlyons.com)

(via realdanlyons.com)

Hey everyone, good that you came back to read some more stuff from the internet. This week I’m sure somewhere in your news feed you saw that famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld accused political correctness of killing comedy. So, before I get started I’d like to get a few things out in the open.



First of all I am incredibly disappointed in myself that it only took me till my second cultural criticism essay to write about comedy. (Takes out gun and puts in mouth, changes mind takes gun out.) I’ll save killing myself for my depression column. I would also like to mention that I have the utmost respect of Jerry Seinfeld as a comedian. You don’t become the most successful person in the history of comedy without being incredibly talented.


Finally, I would like to say I don’t disagree with most of what he has said about political correctness. I could write pages upon pages on my thoughts about how incorrect political correctness is. But, I’m not going to bore you with that insane rant. Instead, I will offer you a far more entertaining rant. One where I shake to comedy establishment to its core. Or at the very least moderately annoy it so that I can continue to have an excuse to why I am not more successful.


As I was saying, Jerry Seinfeld is one of the greatest comedians of all time and his contributions to comedy are vast. The problem is, he hasn’t done much in the last twenty years. Sure he has continued to work and tour and still make more money per show then most comedian will make from doing comedy in a lifetime, but he hasn’t really contributed. No specials, a cameo appearance here and there on TV, and a kids movie. Not really more than that. I know open micers with more impressive credits than that.


My point being he is entitled to have an opinion about whatever he wants, but he seems to be pretty out of touch, content to coast on his fame delivering different versions of the same act to rich old people from coast to coast.


In a sense he is like the worst road headliner to nth degree, complaining about ‘these young kids coming up’ while being completely divorced from the realities of being one of ‘these young kids.’ I know he was talking about college kids and not new comedians, but you know, it feels like its coming from the same place. More on feelings and new comedians later. What I’m saying is I would take what he had a lot more seriously if it seemed like he was doing comedy for everyone or at the very least comedy fans, instead of rich ass old ass Seinfeld ass fans.


On to feelings. Kids today are just too god damn sensitive.  That’s a quote from me, not Seinfeld. Not just kids. Most people. Even me, I’m writing this blog because Mr. Seinfeld has offended my sensibilities. Oh no, I’m writing a blog about how a comedian offended me. I’ve become everything I detest. (Gets out gun but quickly puts it away.) I can’t pull the trigger because I am a coward and writing a blog is my idea of taking action.


Seinfeld thinks college kids are too sensitive so he chooses to not engage with them and instead complain about them in a public forum. Which just so happens to be the preferred method of they hyper sensitive politically correct crowd. And the thing is Seinfeld is not edgy. He doesn’t seem like the kind of person college kids would protest, unless they were protesting the gross misappropriation of funds to bring in a sitcom actor from 20 years ago. 



Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (via galleryhip.com)


I could see if he was really getting out there and trying to be offensive. Like if he opened with, “You know what’s funny, rape, just ask two of the most successful comedians of all time, myself and my good friend, Notorious serial sexual predator, and date rape drug enthusiast Bill Cosby.” Also, in that joke he calls Cosby the N-word. Is the N-word more or less offensive when you are using it on a serial rapist? Anyway, that’s a discussion for a different article.


My point is that is not his act. Seinfeld’s act has always been safe observational stuff grounded in supreme mundanity, which he has does with the skill of a virtuoso. So, here is maybe the real crux of the argument I’m trying to make. Seinfeld is in a unique position, he is the richest and probably most influential comedian of all time.


Instead of just resting on his laurels why not use some of that wealth and fame to try and make comedy better?  How many dozens of specials could he afford to produce?


A few years ago the PC crowd went after Seinfeld for only featuring white male comedians on his web series. Sorry, I forgot to mention he had a web series in his credits. Again, I know open micers who…


At the time my feeling was, its his show, his artistic vision, who am I to tell an artist how to do their art? But now thinking about it, I don’t have a problem with his choice of using almost all white men, I have a problem with him not using it as platform to promote people who weren’t already famous. He could put his stamp on anyone and people would go to see them and if they were funny and talented they would have a career.  He could turn open micers into national acts and national acts into house hold names.  But he doesn’t. 


If Seinfeld really has a problem with political correctness why not showcase the very best comedians who could give a fuck about political correctness? Instead of not doing colleges, do a college tour and use Doug Stanhope as your opener. Or better yet, some 20 something white male comedian who performs in a hoody and may have made a rape joke in this very article. That guy is hilarious and is anything but politically correct.


My real point is Jerry Seinfeld, and any other super rich successful comedian, if you are not booking me to open for you, you are actively killing comedy… or me, I’m not really sure.

Ted is a contributor at UnSceneComedy.com. Ted loves comedy. He hates writing short Bios about himself. Ted is very good at comedy. He is not very good at writing his Bio. Ted is constantly working on his comedy. Ted rarely works on writing his Bio. Ted tell his jokes at all the major clubs in Boston. Ted writes his Bio on his home computer. Ted has appeared in several comedy festivals. His Bio has not. Ted was the Comic in Residence at the Comedy Studio in December 2010. His Bio took the month off to spend time with family. Lets review Comedy Good, Bios Bad.

2 thoughts on “Missing the Point: Jerry Seinfeld is Killing Comedy, Not Political Correctness – by Ted Pettingell

  1. Jimmy Loki

    At first when I heard the Seinfeld blurb, I was in agreement with Seinfeld. Citing the few college-aged people in my life who are so-called White Knights, or “social justice warriors.” He’s absolutely right about the culture surrounding colleges. Yes, it’s loathsome when someone takes what a comedian says and twists it into something completely other than just a joke, but for Seinfeld’s argument to resemble anything like “those damn kids”, it’s makes him look irrelevant. Maybe it’s just a cop out? “Why aren’t you doing colleges?” Sell out the Borgata, great, but when no one at Skidmore even gives a shit about “whats with iPads!?” or “who are these Kardashian people!?!” [Probable new Seinfeld premises] I guess its easier to just discredit that audience, and say they’re dipshits.

  2. steve

    I would argue that Seinfeld is still very relevant and even at the forefront of a new comedic vehicle with Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.


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