Jerry Seinfeld recently made some pretty bold and unpolitically correct statements surrounding race and gender in comedy and one Black comedienne, Nicole Byer is not having it!
During an interview for the BuzzFeed Brews series, BuzzFeed‘s Peter Lauria nervously told Seinfeld “I have noticed that most of the guests are mostly White males.” Then Lauria went on to confront Seinfeld about his White-heavy web series, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.
“Of twenty-two episodes…” Lauria was cut off by Seinfeld saying, “Yeah, let’s get into that! Take a look around, Peter. What do you see? A lotta whitey! What’s going on here?” Seinfeld then went in on Lauria’s inquiry about his show and he let it be known that this has been something that’s bugged him for a long time.
“Oh, this really pisses me off. People think it’s the census or something? Does this [have to] represent the actual pie chart of America? Who cares? Funny is the world I live in. If you’re funny, I’m interested. If you’re not funny, I’m not interested. And I have no interest in race or gender or anything like that, but everyone else is calculating–is this the exact, right mix? It’s anti-comedy. It’s more about PC nonsense, than are you making us laugh or not?”
So there’s been no women, no people of color Seinfeld’s found “funny” enough to be in his web series or to be “interested” in? Black comedienne, Nicole Byer of “Girl Code” fame took to her Tumblr page to set Seinfeld straight on his lack of diversity:
YES JERRY YES! FINALLY! Diversity doesn’t matter in comedy or anywhere else in the world. The entertainment world shouldn’t reflect the real world.
What a [expletive] weird thing to say that you don’t care about diversity. Why wouldn’t you want to enrich your comedy by having a different point of view to make your comedy better? I think funny to Jerry is white… I think I would be less offended if he straight up just said I have white people on my silly web series because I like white people my comedy is for white people and I AM WHITE PEOPLE! Then put on his hood and yelled WHITE POWER and burned a cross on stage. JK if he did the last part I might be offended… but not really. Theres no shame in liking what you like. Like that Duck Dynasty dude saying he doesn’t like gays… well cool, now I never have to watch a show that I’ve never had an interest in watching. Know what I mean? This is the same… I’ve never seen a full episode of Seinfeld and I doubt I will… his funny isn’t my cup of vodka.
I do think the funniest person should get recognition/work/whatever but as a minority its hard. Very hard… partly because no one is really looking for your story. Sure there were a bunch of black people movies this year… but where were the hispanic movies? The Asian movies? The hungarian american movies? UGH I COULD GO ON ALL DAY ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT AND RACE. However I will end on this… the race problem in america will be solved when there are more JLo movies.
Even though Nicole’s post is littered in comedic one-liners, she has a very strong point. Diversity does indeed matter in comedy and Seinfeld’s white bread view on what’s funny is limited and he doesn’t want to admit that it is. When two Black writers and a new Black female cast member are added to the “SNL” team and that becomes major news, there’s something wrong here. Comedy, just like life, is all about diversity.
Why, in 2014, are we still fighting to prove that diversity is needed everywhere. For God’s sakes, it’s the world we live in!