My sibling Tidy is a big old Seinfeld fan. A few months ago she pestered me into watching a few episodes of his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” In this series, Seinfeld drives a guest comedian out for coffee. It is as boring as it sounds.
Right off the bat I wasn’t feelin it on accounta the first 28 minutes or so of each episode is Jerry going off about the awesomeness of the zillion-dollar classic car he’s driving. It’s a different car every time. He babbles on and on about the gold-plated twin axlerods and the triple McSorley gasket-valve sump-plugs in his one-of-a-kind 1962 Jagoffi 1000 SUX. This makes him sound like a total asshole.
Then it’s on to the product placement. He’s shilling for a car manufacturer, apparently. Hey, check out this new Acura! That’s a damn fine sedan!
Then he drives the 1962 Jagoffi 1000 SUX over to pick up some white dude — Jay Leno or Louis CK — and they go to some restaurant and have a carefully edited extempore conversation, after noticing the awesome Acura parked right out front.
I am an advanced patriarchy blamer, so I divined pretty quick that, except for inveterate misogynist Chris Rock and fart-jokist Sarah Silverman, the guest comedians in cars getting coffee are all white dudes. All this whitedudeitude rang a bell, so I cast my mind back through the mists of time, to the popular 90s sitcom that put Seinfeld in a position to afford all those 1962 Jagoffis. Every episode, I recalled, was dripping, not just with regular misogyny, but with really mean-spirited misogyny. And the only black character was the buffoonish lawyer Jackie Chiles.
I perceived a sexist, honky-centric trend. I was not alone, it turns out. “What’s the deal with your apparent disregard for diversity, Jerry?” somebody on TV asked him yesterday. Here is how Seinfeld responded:
“People think it’s the census or something,” Seinfeld said of the assertion that all pop culture should accurately reflect society. “This has gotta represent the actual pie chart of America? Who cares? Funny is the world that I live in. You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that.
Seinfeld went on to say that approaching comedy through the lens of race or gender or sexuality are [sic] “anti-comedy.” “It’s more about PC nonsense than ‘Are you making us laugh or not?’” he said.”
OK, look. When rich white dude comedians “have no interest in gender or race or anything like that,” what they’re really saying is that they’re assholes. Their rich white dudeliness permits them to ignore their own participation in oppression so they can continue to cash in. Seinfeld seems to think that, in his “funny world” where jokes about dating virgins and deporting immigrants are hi-fucking-larious, race and gender are antithetical to comedy.
But he is deluded; what is actually antithetical to comedy is being a rich white dude. Only dickheads make fun of the oppressed, and when you’re wealthy and powerful, pretty much everybody is more oppressed than you are. This shrinks up the joke-butt pool pretty quick. When you’re on top of the world, who or what are you gonna make fun of without coming off as a complete tool? Will you complain about the food in first class? Will you put a bumper sticker on your Ferrari that says “My Other Car Is A Rolls”? You can always say something mean about Kim Kardashian or Honey Boo-Boo I guess; enpornulated women and hillbillies are always fair game, right?
So. Aside from Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman, apparently nobody on the planet except a lot of white guys is funny enough to sell Acuras with washed-up ham Jerry Seinfeld in a Jagoffi.
What a dick.