Jerry Seinfeld created an Internet sensation Monday night with footage of him declining a hug from pop singer Kesha three times going viral.
The hilarious encounter or non-encounter occurred on the red carpet at the National Night Of Laughter And Song hosted by the David Lynch Foundation at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. when Kesha approached the comedian while he was being interviewed by a local radio personality.
“No thanks,” the caught-off-guard funnyman told the singer repeatedly as he back away when she attempted to hug him in the middle of the interview, then admitting to D.C.’s 94.7 Fresh FM reporter Tommy McFly that he had no idea who she was.
“I wish her the best,” he added after McFly clued him in. See the clip below.
On Thursday, the co-creator (with Larry David) of his hit eponymous sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989 to 1998 on NBC and spanned 180 episodes, explained to Extra‘s AJ Calloway that his policy is not to hug a total stranger.
Seinfeld did give Calloway a hug during their discussion, however, at the Good+ Foundation and Mr Porter Fatherhood lunch in New York City, acknowledging that he’s known the Extra correspondent for about 20 years.
That was not the case with Kesha, which may have been partially a function of a generation gap, Seinfeld suggested.
“I’m 63, I don’t know every pop star… I don’t know everyone…I’m not [a hugger], well as a total stranger…When you get to be my age, and you’ve done a couple things, you have your own reality, in my reality…I don’t hug a total stranger. I have to meet someone, say hello. I gotta start somewhere…hug is not the first moment of a human, two humans. I never did that…”
When Calloway said that Kesha, 30, was a Seinfeld fan for years, Jerry quipped that “I’m so flattered by that, but the TV only works one way…I can’t see out who’s watching.”
He also joked about having a “borderline harassment case.”
Apparently, there are no hard feelings between the two. Seinfeld revealed to Extra that he and the songstress who has had three No. 1 hit singles in the form of “Tik Tok,” “We R Who We R,” and “Timber,” spoke off camera later that night and laughed about the encounter. Seinfeld still withheld a hug though.
Seinfeld recently inked a deal with Netflix to bring his popular web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee exclusively to the streaming service.
Watch Jerry Seinfeld discuss the Kesha non-hug with AJ Calloway of Extra.
Among the reasons why the Seinfeld (“a show about nothing”) sitcom gained tremendous popularity is that it mocked mundane social conventions and awkward and often backfiring day-to-day dilemmas that the Jerry Seinfeld TV persona and the other cast members found themselves in — taken to an absurd, often cringe-worthy extreme, of course.
“Larry David, the show’s co-creator, famously insisted on a strict ‘no hugging, no learning’ rule on set,” the Guardian reported back in 2008. The show continues to be in heavy rotation in syndication.
In the clip below, Jerry and George Costanza (Jason Alexander) discuss the protocol for hugging or another form of airport greeting while they await the arrival of a female friend.
To Seinfeld fans, Jerry Seinfeld’s reaction to Kesha’s hug request may have seemed like a sequence from a sitcom episode.
If you haven’t seen any episodes, Larry David’s follow-up series, HBO’s Curb your Enthusiasm, is like Seinfeld on steroids.
Watch Jerry Seinfeld dodge Kesha on the red carpet.
Do you agree with Jerry Seinfeld that physical contact in the form of hugging should be reserved for people who already know each other?
[Featured Image by Greg Allen/Invision/AP Images]