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June 12, 2015
Jerry Seinfeld, the stand-up comedy superstar and much-loved celebrity of television, went on the radio last week to complain about political correctness.
He was a guest on “In The Herd,” a talk show hosted by ESPN’s Colin Cowherd, and how the subject of the P.C. zeitgeist came up, I don’t know or care.
Only that it must have been a slow day in sports – even with the NBA finals, the Stanley Cup finals, pro baseball, pro and college football spring prognostications, men’s and women’s tennis and pro golf all happening on the very same day. But who am I to judge what passes for “sports talk” in 2015?
Jerry is very upset about the way that young people view the world. He’s unhappy his 14-year-old daughter thinks going into Manhattan just to meet boys is “sexist.” (Which is what her mother proposed to her, causing the daughter to voice her opinion, which in turn has made Mr. Seinfeld angry.)
He has pledged not play colleges the way his fellow comic buddies Chris Rock and Larry The Cable Guy have done in the past couple of years. These young people today, they just don’t get it. AND TURN THAT MUSIC DOWN!
As a comedy outsider, someone who cheerfully shuns celebrity and its many forms of hubris, I would say this to Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Larry TCG, and all other “stars” in the world of showbiz: I play colleges pretty regularly (I played a handful this past spring, I have more on the docket starting in August when the school year starts up again for 2015-16).
I have found those crowds to be exceptionally attentive, responsive and engaged. PC? Probably. Maybe. But mostly I find that the way to have a successful program at a college is to kind of “tailor” (sorry, I love that pun) my act to them. I don’t expect 19-year-olds to laugh at mortgage jokes. I don’t race-bait. I’m not profane and I use political comedy sparingly – I was 19 once. I had a lot on my mind, and foreign diplomacy made the top 100 in my thought process, but was way out of the top 20.
So go ahead and complain all you want. I don’t wanna hear it, Jerry. There is a difference between those of us who work and make people laugh even if audiences don’t “know” us. I know you’re a “craftsman” and a “wordsmith” and you can juxtapose thoughts and brilliantly execute humor in a concise, efficient manner, getting laughs from the mundanity of life even as you use your superior ability to communicate through well-executed, perfectly-timed punch lines.
I’m just working, and getting more bookings and I’m thrilled to have an audience. Note to college activities directors: I’m happy to come and rock your students! I’ll do a great show and I cost about 1/100th of those superstars fees. I want to play your school, and I have a modus operandi for my act and the people who come to see it – it’s called respect. It trumps my personal opinions.