Jerry Seinfeld is the latest comedian weighing in on the controversy surrounding Kevin Hart and the Academy Awards. And the sitcom star thinks the Oscars, not Hart, got hurt the most by the Night School star’s decision to step down as host.
Seinfeld recently spoke with Willie Geist for a Today interview that will air on Sunday. A newly released clip from the sit-down shows Geist asking Seinfeld about Hart coming under fire for years-old homophobic tweets. The tweets came to light after Hart was announced as the host for the 2019 Oscars. After facing several days of social media scrutiny, Hart ultimately withdrew from the job.
Seinfeld told Geist that Hart is “a brilliant comedian” who “didn’t have to step down.” Seinfeld then added, “Who got screwed in that deal? I think Kevin’s gonna be fine. But find another Kevin Hart, that’s not so easy. He’s a brilliant guy with a movie career.”
Seinfeld also commented on the delicate balance comedians often have to make between being funny and being offensive. “Most of the time, comedians, we are expected to be the most agile in terms of how we think and construct our thoughts and what comes out of our mouth,” he said. “We have been navigating these slalom gates forever. ”
Seinfeld noted that the rules are frequently changing when it comes to what comedians can and cannot say. And if comedians want to advance their careers, they have to play along.
“When I started out, there were dirty comedians,” he continued. “‘Well, if you want to get on The Tonight Show or if you want to get on TV, you can’t use any of those words. All those words are out.’ And a lot of us went, ‘Okay. I still want to play, I’ll play.’ ‘Oh here’s the new rule, we’re cutting this out.’ ‘Okay, I’ll get around that.’ So that’s our thing. It’s like Lindsay Vonn, wherever you put the gates, I’m gonna make them. I’m gonna make the gates. That’s the gig.”