When asked whether C.K. should be allowed to return to stand-up – often unannounced – after the allegations of sexual misconduct were levied against him, Seinfeld said he didn’t think it was too soon.
“It’s the way [C.K.] did it that I think people didn’t like. Some people didn’t like that he’s doing it at all,” Seinfeld said of C.K.’s return.
“We know the routine: 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. And people, I think, figured they had that coming with Louie — he owes us that. 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.”
Much of the criticism surrounding C.K.’s return is that, outside of a statement at the time of the allegations, the comedian hasn’t apologized or shown remorse for his actions, including in his comedy sets, where he’s avoided the situation entirely.
“I can’t say what he should do. You do whatever you want. If he does it wrong, he’s going to suffer. And that’s his deal,” Seinfeld said of C.K.
“If there’s a crime here, and the law gets involved, that’s what the law is for. The laws of comedy, we kind of make them up as we go. Part of entertainment, sometimes, is the life of the person. We want that to entertain us, too, as part of the act. We like your show, and then we like your messed-up life. That entertains us as well.”
Seinfeld, who admitted that he admired Bill Cosby before the dozens of accusations of sexual assault by that comedy legend, said that the crimes against Cosby and subsequent conviction are “too big a safe falling out of a window to ignore.”
“The crash is too loud. The thing I think that’s new for people — let’s take Roseanne and Cosby — is the suddenness and the precipitous fall,” Seinfeld said.
“So much work, gone so fast. We’re upset at the speed of it, because it’s new. I would say about Roseanne, I never saw anything that bad happen from a finger-tap on a screen. A whole career: gone.”
Seinfeld added that he “loved” Hannah Gadsby’s groundbreaking comedy special Nanette. “This is why people are excited about stand-up now, Seinfeld said. “And how valuable is that, for other people that are going through or have gone through what she has? To see, here’s a person that’s thrived despite it. An incredible contribution.”