Jerry Seinfeld may perform his routine in clubs, theaters, or festivals, but don’t expect to see Mr. Seinfeld grace the stage of American colleges anytime soon or ever again. Jerry has heard similar advice from several stand-up comics, and he’s taking their words of experience to heart.
Art in its many forms depends on shocking audiences out of their complacency, using the freedom of expression to open up minds to new ideas and fresh perspectives. One of the many areas of art that depends on this concept is the arena of stand-up comedy, but, according to Jerry Seinfeld, a hypersensitivity to political correctness may be killing the art of comedy, particularly on American college campuses.
“I don’t play colleges,” Seinfeld told ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. “I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC.'”
Seinfeld said in the interview that while he avoids college campuses, many of Jerry’s friends do perform at universities, and the stories they relate back to him make Mr. Seinfeld even more wary of accepting invitations to perform for college students. Seinfeld’s colleagues report having to be cautious about which routines they do because the slightest off-color joke may earn them disdain from the audience.
“I’ll give you an example: My daughter’s 14… My wife says to her, ‘Well, you know, in the next couple years, I think maybe you’re going to want to be hanging around the city more on the weekends, so you can see boys,'” Seinfeld said of a conversation between wife Jessica Seinfeld and eldest daughter, Sascha. “You know what my daughter says? She says, ‘That’s sexist.'”
“They just want to use these words — ‘That’s racist,’ ‘That’s sexist,’ ‘That’s prejudice,'” Jerry added. “They don’t even know what the f–k they’re talking about.”
Mr. Seinfeld was also asked if the extremity of the politically correct climate hurts comedy.
“Yes it does, yes it does,” Jerry replied.
Mr. Seinfeld has seen the effect the politically correct climate has had on his fellow comedians, and Jerry says it’s leading comedy on a path toward self-destruction.
“I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that. But everyone else is kind of, with their calculating — is this the exact right mix? I think that’s — to me it’s anti-comedy. It’s more about PC-nonsense.”
Jerry Seinfeld recently reunited with fellow Seinfeld actress and comedienne Julia Louis Dreyfus on Jerry’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
[Featured image: Jerry Seinfeld courtesy of Anna Webber/Getty Images for New York Magazine]