It’s become the obligatory question to any comedian of any prominence these days. It’s a precarious question opening up the person about to answer it to potential scorn, Twitter browbeating, and more. But its also unavoidable. This week, it was Seinfeld’s turn to answer the question, posed by the New York Times as if it was Seinfeld’s decision to make: “Is it too soon for Louis C.K. to be performing again?”
Seinfeld unflinchingly said, no. It’s not too soon.
He didn’t elaborate on why, instead cleverly redirecting the conversation to analyzing why the so many people feel differently. Society, he said, needs to feel that the wrongdoer has been completely crushed before we will accept a return. “We know the routine,” he told the Times. “The person does something wrong. The person’s humiliated. They’re exiled. They suffer, we want them to suffer. We love the tumble, we love the crash and bang of the fall. And then we love the crawl-back. The grovel. Are you going to grovel? How long are you going to grovel? Are you going to cry? Are you going to Jimmy Swaggart?” People feel Louis owes us that, he said. “We, the court of public opinion, decided if he’s going to come back, he’d better show a lot of pain. Because he denied them that.”
The Times reframed the question asking if Louis should stay away. Again, Seinfeld redirected. You do what you want, he said, but if you don’t do what the public wants, “you are going to suffer.”
Not about to give up without getting some kind of committal answer, the reporter pressed one more time to find out if Jerry had his own opinion about Louis’ crimes, and the timing of a redemption. “If there’s a crime here, and the law gets involved, that’s what the law is for.”
He also expressed some concern for the suddenness with which our comedy stars are being taken down, likening the downfalls of Louis, Cosby and even Roseanne to a safe crashing out a window.
Read the full article to also see what Seinfeld thinks of Nanette, Bernie Mac, Sam Kinison and Robin Harris.