Hi Jerry (can I call you Jerry?),
College student here.
You’ve been taking a lot of heat recently and I’d like add a dose of sanity to this conversation if that’s alright with you.
In The Huffington Post’s College Blog, Anthony Berteaux wrote a letter to you whose primary achievement was to prove your point about students, albeit inadvertently.
But before I get to him, a story. Today I was sitting in the hallway of my school’s lab sciences building waiting for a professor and talking with a friend of mine, and your name came up. A complete stranger, maybe a year older than myself, walked past us and interjected with a theatrical attitude that could only have been carefully rehearsed for such an occasion. He said something to the effect of “Oh, are you guys talking about that article where Jerry Seinfeld is bitter? That he’s a washed up has-been and is blaming the fact that no one thinks he’s funny anymore on college students?” Followed by, and I swear this is true, a “humph” and a judgmental eyebrow slant before he went into another room.
Incidentally, my friend and I were talking about “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
Jerry, I think you’re hilarious. Not only do I think you’re one of the absolute funniest comedians in the history of television and stand up, but the Seinfeldian style of observational comedy has permeated my everyday life. It enriches even the most soul-crushing and mundane of life activities. You not only make me laugh, you’ve actually made my life better.
I would also like to point out that I too am a liberal college student who cares about intercultural dialogue and LGBT activism and all that buzzword jazz; I’ve devoted an enormous amount of my time on campus to these ideas. I just also bother to think before I become offended.
I have been to a standup show at my university and your comment on how irrationally politically correct my generation can be is spot-on.
There were three acts that night: a student (who was phenomenal), Kurt Braunohler and Eugene Mirman. Braunohler told heavy-handed audience pandering jokes about social media and jerking off into a McDonald’s applepie as a child. He was an absolute hit and frankly I could have napped through it. Mirman, however, told some very well-crafted, genuinely laugh-out-loud funny and whimsical jokes about a child with Asperger’s — which, as you may have already guessed, fell so hard they may have actually made a sound as they hit the stage floor. Everyone was all in a huff because, situationally, both a joke and autism were in the same room. What is important here is that he didn’t say anything even remotely mean about people with autism, but the very fact that his joke featured it was too much for my peers and the politcally correct defense mechanism was in full swing.
So I don’t blame you for not playing college campus shows. And more importantly, I am not even slightly bothered that you said this on a radio program because, you know, this is America damn it! Please, please do not apologize for saying a perfectly reasonable thing, in a perfectly reasonably way in a perfectly reasonable setting.
But I must get back to Berteaux. For reasons I may not ever fully understand, my generation is under the impression that publicly complaining about things that are neither a problem in our society nor under any democratic influence, is somehow social justice. We (and I hate to include myself, but I must by definition) all seem to be under the impression that everything is for us.
If this Berteaux kid wants comedy that “spurs social dialogue about [topics of race and gender politics]” then he’s free to go and find it in the unicorn comedians of his imagination. But to so aggressively assert that this is the new standard in comedy and nothing else will do is audaciously arrogant coming from someone not even old enough to get into most standup clubs, let alone to be directed at one of the greatest comedians of all time. I’m not really sure where he penciled into the rule book while no one was looking that “sexist humor and racist humor can no longer exist” but I’m pretty damn sure that they can and will, whether he wants them to or not.
So for what it’s worth Jerry, I’d like to apologize on behalf of my fellow reasonable college students for all the loud-mouthed unintelligent crap that has been directed at you the past few days. You’re still the bee’s knees in my eyes and I’ll see you after graduation.