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Conservative pundits embrace Jerry Seinfeld's comments about the 'extreme left' killing comedy

A clip of the comedian being interviewed by The New Yorker circulated across social media Sunday.
Jerry Seinfeld looks out a window while posing for a portrait
Jerry Seinfeld promotes the film "Unfrosted" in New York on April 16.Victoria Will / Invision/AP

Several conservative pundits praised Jerry Seinfeld this week after he garnered criticism online for suggesting political correctness is killing comedy.

The online discourse began after a clip of the comedian, who starred in and co-created the popular '90s sitcom "Seinfeld," circulated across social media on Sunday. During an interview with The New Yorker, Seinfeld suggested the era of golden comedy no longer exists.

“It used to be you would go home at the end of the day, most people would go, ‘Oh, 'Cheers' is on,” he told the publication. “‘Oh, 'M.A.S.H.' is on, oh, 'Mary Tyler Moore' is on. ... You just expected, there’ll be some funny stuff we can watch on TV tonight. Well, guess what? Where is it? This is the result of the extreme left and PC crap, and people worrying so much about offending other people."

The interview became the latest flashpoint in the internet’s larger culture war over "wokeness," with some conservatives celebrating Seinfeld's remarks and others blasting his perspective.

A representative for Seinfeld did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

YouTube commentator Benny Johnson, host of “The Benny Show,” posted that Seinfeld’s “FULL BLAST” comments on the “Left’s destruction of comedy” made for a “powerful” moment.

Elon Musk reshared an audio clip of Seinfeld's interview, which had been posted by the X account End Wokeness. “Make comedy legal again!" Musk wrote.

Fox News host Sean Hannity also reshared the comedian’s remarks in a post on X.

During the interview, Seinfeld, who is promoting his upcoming Netflix movie “Unfrosted,” also said there's a new process when it comes to writing jokes.

“But when you write a script, and it goes into four or five different hands, committees, groups — 'Here’s our thought about this joke.' Well, that’s the end of your comedy," he said.

Stand-up comedians are now the ones who "have the freedom," according to Seinfeld.

"With certain comedians now, people are having fun with them stepping over the line and us all laughing about it," he said. "But, again, it’s the standups that really have the freedom to do it because no one else gets the blame if it doesn’t go down well. He or she can take all the blame themself."

Actor Rob McElhenney, co-star and co-creator of the popular comedy series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," was among the chorus of critics online.

In a post on X, McElhenney responded to a quote from Seinfeld in which he reflected on whether an episode of his '90s sitcom still would have been greenlighted in the present day.

Seinfeld told The New Yorker that one would be “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?”

McElhenney wrote, “Probably,” alongside a screenshot of a recurring character from his show who has been the subject of some of the show’s more extreme jokes.

Some online argued that they think Seinfeld couldn’t make a good sitcom today because he’s not funny. Others said they believe “Seinfeld” was a big hit because it didn’t have to compete with streaming shows for audiences at the time.

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans, weighing in on X, said that current comedies on the air are not necessarily experiencing the barriers Seinfeld described.

“I think Jerry is regurgitating excuses from people who had projects die, for who knows what reason. Network TV isn’t spending money on scripted shows. The TV audience isn’t interested in old school sitcoms,” he wrote. “There’s lots of other possible reasons for why there aren’t as many sitcoms on network TV and no evidence that wokeness has killed anything.”