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Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld clarifies PC culture comments on Ricky Gervais Sirius XM show (Video)

Jerry Seinfeld sounded off on PC culture during Ricky Gervais’s SiriusXM show Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius,and not in the way you might expect.

For years, it’s been rumored that Seinfeld refuses to do college shows because he’s disgusted with the restrictions put on comedy acts by liberal institutions. But on Gervais’s show, he set the record straight. When Gervais brings up the topic, the Long Island native begs, “Please stop with that. No, it’s not true. It’s amazing the legs that [story] got…Can we please put this to rest? I never said it. Here’s what I said: A comedian told me he doesn’t want to play colleges anymore. That’s what I said, and they ran with it.”

And on PC culture in general, he continued, “The mental agility that is required to execute this job is an essential part of it. Comedians complaining, ‘I can’t do this joke now because so-and-so is going to be offended.’ That’s right. You can’t. So do another joke. Find another way around it. Use a different word. It’s like slalom skiing. You have to make the gates.”

Gervais chimed in to say there’s nothing he won’t joke about. If journalists can write about it, it’s fair game for comedians. “Well, you’re talking about it. I talked about it in the form of a joke. It was just faster, and quicker, and it made people laugh.”

But who, in particular, is laughing?

Gervais’s perspective is in line with his 2018 Netflix special Humanity, criticized for its careless, offensive material, as well as his “tell-it-like-it-is” persona. Earlier this year, comedic writer Lindy West penned a piece for The New York Times entitled The World Is Evolving, and Ricky Gervais Isn’t.

Still, Gervais says he’s paying attention now more than ever. On the issue of having confidence as a performer, he said, “Thinking back, it wasn’t a case of confidence. It was that I didn’t care if they liked me or not. I didn’t care…But now I’m getting worried because now I appreciate them more. I like people more than I ever did.” Well, that’s nice.

The full 90-minute episode of the SiriusXM show will air Tuesday, December 4 at 11:00 a.m. ET on Comedy Greats channel 94.

Emily Winter

Emily Winter is a stand-up comedian, writer, and producer based out of New York City. She runs three Time Out NY Critics’ Pick comedy shows in Brooklyn: BackFat Variety, Comedy at Rose Gold, and Side Ponytail. Last year, she co-created WHAT A JOKE, a nationwide anti-Trump comedy festival with shows in over 20 cities that raised more than $50K for the ACLU. She’s very funny on Twitter @EmilyMcWinter.

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Jerry Seinfeld on Louis C.K.

In some ways, the world of Jerry Seinfeld is the same as it ever was. He’s still the singularly recognizable stand-up, the star and co-creator of his eponymous TV sitcom and the host of a Netflix talk show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” At 64, he is still playing dozens of live dates a year and, on Friday, announced the return of his residency at the Beacon Theater with 20 new shows in 2019.

But the comedy world that Seinfeld inhabits is in a tumultuous period. While some performers feel uneasy about what they can or can’t say onstage, several prominent stars have been disgraced by scandals of their own making. Bill Cosby, once one of Seinfeld’s creative heroes, was convicted of sexual assault in April and sentenced to prison in September. Roseanne Barr had her resuscitated ABC sitcom canceled in May after she posted a racist tweet. Louis C.K., who last year admitted to several acts of sexual misconduct, has resumed performing in clubs again, prompting an outcry from some audience members and rebukes from fellow comics.

These are complicated and uncomfortable issues that Seinfeld knows he can’t avoid, given his standing in the industry, and that he is still thinking through and processing in real time. On Wednesday, over lunch at Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side, he spoke about the current cultural moment, which he said felt necessary. “We’re figuring it out as we go along,” Seinfeld said. “And there’s something very stimulating and empowering about that. We don’t really know what the rules are.”

Seinfeld also spoke about his approach to stand-up in this anxious period, the performers who have transgressed and the artists he still admires. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

What made you want to return to it in 2019?
When we decided to try it out, I just loved playing there. Then it just seemed like we had done it a lot, and you never want to overstay your welcome anywhere. And then I missed it. It’s my vision of what I consider to be the ideal stand-up experience, which is a beautiful old theater in someone’s hometown, where they know every inch of the neighborhood. You see someone at Madison Square Garden, or Radio City or Carnegie Hall, each one is a totally different experience. You’re not getting the same interaction with that performer.

Is it still important for you to work out new material in smaller clubs?
I went out to Long Island yesterday, got home at 7, and then grabbed a sport jacket to run out of the house. My wife says, “Where are you going?” I go, “I got to go to a club.” She says, “Why?” We’re married 18 years, you still have to answer these questions. I go, “I need to try out some stuff.” Real comedians want to go on every single night.

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There’s a lot of tension in comedy right now, for many reasons. 
Sure. I was saying to an audience recently, “Why do you even come out here for this? I guess you just like to see somebody sweat.” Chris Rock gave me a theory that in the old days, when you’d go see Neil Young or Jimi Hendrix, you saw the whole artist. Now, most music artists, that person’s talent is just a component of what they’re making. But with a comedian, you’re still getting the whole artist: the writer, the director, the presenter. All their talent is on display in one package and that’s intense. It’s why stand-up is still so popular.

So you feel that anxiety, too?
Of course. With Cosby and Louis and Roseanne. The thing about being in comedy is, “We hate you, get off the stage” is what we’re used to. Every comedian has that as part of their life. Getting booed, yelled at, hated. So you almost don’t notice it. You either have the skin for it or you don’t.

There are the people who were punished for their behavior offstage — we’ll come back to them. For those people who believe they’ve been penalized for things they’ve said onstage, are they entitled to a sphere of protection in their performances?
No, I don’t agree with that. Because the audience automatically filters what you’re saying. You know how many people are around from when I started? I started with hundreds of guys and women, 99 percent are gone. And some of them were great. Why are they gone? Every reason you can name. Every human frailty there is. Every hairline crack in your personality gets pulled on — let’s see if we can make it a gash and then push you into it. That’s what happens in stand-up.

Sarah Silverman & Louis CK

Sarah Silverman Says Louis C.K. Masturbated in Front of Her With Her Consent

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Vulture Festival
Sarah Silverman

“I’m not saying everyone should embrace Louis again,” Silverman told Howard Stern. “I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it onstage.”

Sarah Silverman opened up about her relationship with her longtime friend and fellow comic Louis C.K. on Monday’s episode of Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show. During the interview, Silverman revealed that C.K. — who faced a number of sexual misconduct allegations last fall — used to masturbate in front of her with consent.

“I know I’m going to regret saying this,” Silverman said. “I’ve known Louis forever, I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way. We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘Fuck, yeah, I want to see that!'”

C.K. was accused by five women of masturbating in front of them in a New York Times story published last November and written by one of the journalists who penned the first exposé on sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. C.K. later admitted to the allegations.

During her chat with Stern, Silverman said that she understands that her experience with C.K. is incomparable to what the “other women,” some of which were younger female comedians, went through.

“It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends,” she said. “Sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘Fucking no, gross,’ and we got pizza.”

Silverman went on to say that her encounters with C.K. took place early on in their careers when they were “letting our freak flags fly.” She also said that she and C.K. would sometimes take their clothes off together, throw them out the window of their apartments onto the street and then take the elevator naked to go and get them.

Silverman noted that C.K.’s behavior didn’t change once his star began to rise. “Once he became powerful, even within just his [comedy] community, he felt like he was the same person, but the dynamic was different and it was not OK,” she said, adding that she believes C.K. was trying to change before the accusations in the Times article made headlines. “Even in that article they talk about how he tried to connect with some of these women to say he fucked up and wronged them.”

Silverman continued: “I’m not saying everyone should embrace Louis again. I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it onstage. He’s going to have to find his way or not find his way.”

Not long after Silverman’s interview with Stern aired, Rebecca Corry — one of C.K.’s accusers — reacted via Twitter. “To be real clear, C.K. had ‘nothing to offer me’ as I too was his equal on the set the day he decided to sexually harass me” Corry wrote on Monday. “He took away a day I worked years for and still has no remorse. He’s a predator who victimized women for decades and lied about it.”

Silverman later apologized to Corry on Twitter. “Rebecca I’m sorry. Ugh this is why I don’t like weighing in. I can’t seem to do press 4 my show w/out being asked about it,” she wrote. “But you’re right- you were equals and he fucked with you and it’s not ok. I’m sorry, friend. You are so talented and so kind.”

Silverman’s interview with Sten isn’t the first time she has spoken out about C.K.’s #MeToo allegations. Last November, she broke her silence about the issue during an incredibly poignant episode of her Hulu talk show, I Love You, America.

“One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C. K., masturbated in front of women. He wielded his power with women in fucked-up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely,” Silverman said at the time. “I hope it’s OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend.”

Then, in a May profile for GQ, Silverman said that she has “compassion” for C.K. and suggested that she was hopeful that he could make a comeback.

“There are people that just deny everything they’re accused of and they continue to be the politicians or the filmmakers that they are,” she said. “And there are people that come and say, I’m guilty of these things, and I’m wrong, and I want to be changed from this. And yet those are the ones that kind of are excommunicated forever. He’s my brother, so it’s hard. I may not have a very clear perspective on it, but I’m trying to.”

C.K. was largely shunned by comedy clubs following the sexual misconduct allegations. However, he has performed a string of comeback sets at different venues throughout New York City in the past several months. While he failed to address his #MeToo scandal during surprise sets at the Comedy Cellar in August and September, C.K. “addressed that he did something wrong” during an Oct. 10 performance at the West Side Comedy Club, according to host AMarie Castillo.

“He didn’t specifically address what he did, but he did seem to admit to doing wrong and it was clear that he’s just trying to figure out his life. He talked about his life over the past year and acknowledged how it’s been tough for him,” Castillo told The Hollywood Reporter last week. “And he spoke about how weird it’s been.”

The female comic added: “He talked about how everything, what happened to him in public, has affected his family. He spoke about losing lots of money because of everything. Louis was very sincere and genuine about it all.”

Monday, 10/22, 2:22 p.m. Updated with Rebecca Corry’s Twitter response to Sarah Silverman’s interview.

Tuesday, 10/23, 6:33 a.m. Updated with Silverman’s Twitter apology to Corry.

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comedy specials that are changing the game

https://laughspin.com/nanette-alternative-comedy-specials/

When you imagine a stand-up special, you might think about Eddie Murphy in a skintight leather suit or Richard Pryor directly in a spotlight against a black background or George Carlin standing in front of a huge USC mural. These are the images that tipify the modern comedy special. When audiences tune into Comedy Central or HBO, they expect a (cough) man, a microphone, and the laughs of a roaring crowd over sharp jokes. But as stand-up comedy got more popular, so did the stand-up special. Now there is a seemingly endless list of new comedy specials to watch. Streaming sites like Netflix have produced more specials in the last few years than audiences have ever had before (in fact, they released a new comedy special every week in 2017). With the influx of new specials, many have started to play with both the limits of structure and content when crafting their hour. From sincerity about hard subjects to the complete lack of an audience, these 8 comedians challenge the limits of what a comedy special can be:

8) Neal Brennan: 3 Mics, Netflix (2017)

Neal Brennan’s 3 Mics deconstructs three types of comedy. He labels each mic: one-liners, stand-up, and “emotional stuff.” By labeling the mics and physically moving in between them, he makes the audience hyperaware of the types of performance they are watching. While most stand-up specials will naturally have at least a little bit of all three categories, Brennan seems to be teaching the audience how to understand the comedy writing process. While the three modes are completely different, his crass one-liners, his tight stand-up, and his honest look at depression meld together to paint a full portrait of the comedian.

 

7) Wyatt Cenac: Brooklyn (2014)

Wyatt Cenac’s Brooklyn could have been a very traditional stand-up special. But Cenac made it unique by not only taping it in a tiny Brooklyn venue, but also acting out a handful of his jokes with puppets superimposed over his set. The puppets break the confines of the club and introduce an element of imagination and whimsey while Cenac is talking about heavier topics like the death of his father when he was a child. If it wasn’t hipster enough, Cenac released a limited edition vinyl album if puppets weird you out.

6) Judah Friedlander: America is the Greatest Country in the United States, Netflix (2017)

Judah Friedlander created a truly DIY special. America is the Greatest Country in the United States was filmed over a collection of nights at the famed Comedy Cellar in New York City. The first stand-up special from the self-proclaimed “world champion” is comprised almost entirely of crowd work. Filmed on a shoestring budget in black and white, the special feels like a mix between a documentary and a found film. Some jokes are repeated. Different nights are smashed together, creating an absurdist picture of political comedy in a post-Trump America.

5) Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special (2012)

Maria Bamford was already a celebrated stand-up in 2012 for her less-than-conventional approach to comedy, but The Special Special Special played with the very concept of what a comedy special can be. Filmed entirely in her California home with only her mother and father in the audience, Bamford creates an often uncomfortably intimate space. Jokes that should have had uproarious laughter by a crowd are instead punctuated by a single chuckle from her dad. While The Special Special Special doesn’t contain many of the mental illness-related jokes she would later be praised for, its tone is fascinating and unshakable. Her newest special, Old Baby, continues to challenge the form as she performs in a wide range of different venues from a living room to a library to, yes, a bowling alley.

4) Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, Netflix (2017)

For stand-ups, a microphone in hand can almost be a security blanket. But not only does Minhaj not need the crutch, it would have held him back in his first Netflix special Homecoming King. He moves around the stage quickly, at times running and jumping. He shows the audience family photos on the giant screen behind him. While most comedians tell jokes about their families, Minhaj pushes it further. At times, Homecoming Kingfeels like a memoir reading or a one-man show. Not every story is happy—much of the special revolves around being brown in a post-9/11 world. While Minhaj tries to punctuate each story with a joke, the realities of racism leak into this special in a way that forces you to think and remember and examine what it means to be a person of color in America.

3) Bo Burnham: Make Happy, Netflix (2016)

Musical comedy specials have always felt a little different, but Make Happy stands out for its last 15 minutes. Bo Burnham explains in the special that he has been performing since he was a teenager and this is all he knows. He asks the audience, “What? Do you want me to be funny and make a point?” And then he goes on a 10-minute Kanye West-style rant which starts about Pringles and ends in an opus on the nature of the relationship between performer and audience. He captures the feelings of a clown that is trying to give the audience the happiness that his declining mental health won’t let him have. Make Happy follows his 2013 special What?, also on Netflix, where he truly broke free from ‘guitar guy’ criticisms, masterfully blending stand-up, song, and performance art.

2) Drew Michael, HBO (2018)

Drew Michael has a frenetic energy that leaves the watcher in a suspended state between agitation and alarm. Michael forgoes both audience and theater and instead performs in a space that looks like a photographer’s studio on a spaceship. Directed by fellow comedian Jerrod Carmichael, the look is unlike any special you’ve ever seen. His intensely personal jokes are intercut with FaceTime conversations with a girlfriend-type, but the most striking thing about the special is his delivery. Michael approaches extremely well-written jokes with a delivery so angry that the special feels like a psychotic take on a one-man show. Without an audience, all the viewers hear are their own laughs; the audience gets to decide what is funny without feeding off of a larger audience. Drew Michael is an experience. As Michael says in the special, if a joke isn’t for you, ignore it and let it hit the person that it is meant for. Drew Michael isn’t for everyone and that might be the most revolutionary thing about it.

1)Hannah Gadsby: Nannette, Netflix (2018)

Truly the stand-up special that launched 1,000 opinions. Is it comedy? It has all the trappings of a comedy special. There is an audience. It is taped inside a large theater. Comedian Hannah Gadsby—previously an unknown here in the States—even starts with typical stand-up material. It isn’t until the last third of the special that the intensity ramps up as she starts expressing her personal trauma and you see the special for what it really is: a discussion of comedy as a coping mechanism. Parts of the special feel like Gadsby is putting comedy on trial. Other parts feel like she’s putting men on trial. But more importantly, Nanette is a love letter to women in the #MeToo era.

10 Times Bill Cosby Was Creepy AF

 

 

10 times Bill Cosby was creepy af

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Many Bill Cosby fans were shocked when the legendary comedian was accused of sexually assaulting numerous women. But maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised. After all, Cosby, who was recently found guilty of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, has a history of bizarre and downright creepy behavior. Here are 10 times that Bill Cosby was a total creep:

1. His advice to George Lopez

During an interview with Howard Stern back in 2016, Lopez recalled a conversation he had with Cosby after taking over as host of Playboy Jazz Festival several years earlier. According to Lopez, Cosby gave him some weird tips about dealing with the opposite sex. “He says, you know, like, ‘If you meet a lady, man, put her in the audience. Don’t bring her backstage,’” Lopez said. “If you want to get blown, keep her out there … None of it had anything to do with jazz, by the way.”

2. His conversation with Kenan Thompson

George Lopez isn’t the only comedian who has recently come forward with a weird Bill Cosby story.  New Emmy-winner Kenan Thompson revealed in 2015 that Cosby also gave him some bizarre advice when they worked together on the Fat Albert movie. “There are little indicators of things that happen that you just go, ‘Hmmm, that was a little different,’” Thompson told Late Night with Seth Meyers. “And one of them was this story that he told me, where he was like, ‘You know, life is good in the movies or whatever, but you just be ready, because when this movie comes out, you’re going to need two dicks because women are going to be all over you.’”

It’s no wonder Thompson called Cosby a “monster” during a stand-up set that same year.

3. His books

Bill Cosby wrote three books in the late 1980s, and they are chock-full of examples of his dirty mind. Just take this passage from Love and Marriage, where he described how he preyed on women back in high school: “It was in those basements that I tried to squeeze girls as if they were melons to see which ones might be ripe for going steady with me. Sometimes I managed to lure one of them outside to sit with me in a car for a little kissing and rubbing; most of the other girls I managed to lure away from the crowd just sat there like statues, hoping that this moment would pass and they could get on with their lives. “

Or this excerpt from Fatherhood: “A father… knows exactly what those boys at the mall have in their depraved little minds because he once owned such a depraved little mind himself. In fact, if he thinks enough about the plans that he used to have for young girls, the father not only will support his wife in keeping their daughter home, but he might even run over to the mall and have a few of those boys arrested.“

4. His anti-prejudice special

Back in the 1970s, Cosby starred in a TV special where he played the ultimate bigot. The satirical program was designed to teach viewers about prejudice. But it also revealed Cosby’s disturbing views of women. Toward the end of the routine, he stated, “They’re not pieces of flesh, but if I want to take one out, I’ll take her out. I buy the dinner—she didn’t pay for it. I expect something in return!” He even said that women are not as strong as men and that women are only supposed to “have babies” and “wash dishes.” While Cosby was ostensibly in character at the time, he may have been expressing his true views through the guise of comedy.

5. His interview with Sofia Vergara

Fans got to see Bill Cosby’s creepy antics for themselves when he filled in on The Late Show back in 2003. Cosby interviewed Sofia Vergara and spent the entire conversation ogling over the actress. “Men look at you, and they only think of sin,” he told an uncomfortable Vergara. “… Now what you have on tonight is wonderful. This is wonderful. And when you walked out, many, uh, many people became attentive.”

6. His weird rider

While visiting The Late Show, Cosby had a truly odd request. He reportedly wanted some of the young female staffers to stare at him. “He’d include as a request, before he arrived, that the young girls, interns, and assistants, all had to gather around in the green room backstage and sit down and watch him eat curry,” a source told NY Daily News. “No one would say anything, and he would sit silently eating and make us watch and want us to watch.”

7. His joke about a special barbecue sauce

During one episode of The Cosby Show, the comedian joked about a special barbecue sauce he makes that causes women to become “huggy buggy.” Sure enough, daughters are all over their significant others after having it. Cosby’s character then attempts to seduce his wife (played by Phylicia Rashad) by saying he has a cup of the sauce waiting for her upstairs. While this just seemed like an innocent joke at the time, it’s hard to watch this scene without thinking about the reports of Cosby drugging his victims.

8. His Spanish Fly “joke”

This wasn’t even the first time that Bill Cosby joked about drugging women. In 1969, he released a comedy LP called It’s True! It’s True! that featured a bit about Spanish Fly. Cosby “joked” about using the aphrodisiac to drug and lure women. “Spanish Fly is groovy,” he said. “Yeah boy. From then on, man, any time you see a girl: Wish you had some Spanish Fly boy. Go to a party, see five girls standing alone—boy, if I had a whole jug of Spanish Fly I’d light that corner up over there.” The only thing worse than the joke itself is hearing the audience members laughing in the background.

9. His thoughts on birth control

Yet another standup routine that predicted some of Cosby’s predatory ways came on his comedy album Those of You with or Without Children, You’ll Understand. During that record, he stated why he didn’t think he had to talk to his son about birth control. “It’s the female’s job to protect herself,” he said. “It’s like a goalie… you have to keep people from scoring on you.” Men continue to use similar explanations to justify rape.

10. His “gift” for a female journalist

Reporter Dana Kennedy did a story on Bill Cosby back in the early 1990s. And while she maintains that Cosby never tried to seduce her, she did notice his creepy tendencies throughout the interview. At one point, he told her, “Tell me what you want to ask and we’ll see how it goes. If it doesn’t go well, I’ll give you a piece of fruit. I’ll give you an apple or pear and you can be on your way.”

Sure enough, within days of the story being published, Cosby mailed Kennedy a dying apple.