Bobcat Vs. Seinfeld
With Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld co-created and starred in one of the greatest, funniest, most influential and re-watchable programs in television history. During his prime as a stand-up comedian he was similarly one of the all-time bests and similarly influential. Before Seinfeld, comedians were afraid to ask questions onstage for fear of offending people.
Not Seinfeld. Even as a young man, he was unafraid to ask “what the deal” was with various things, from airline food to answering machines. Other comedians took notice and soon everyone was asking what the deal was, leading to the creation of what is today known as “observational comedy”
Hell, I even liked Comedian even if the idea of making a documentary comparing and contrasting Seinfeld’s journey through comedy with that of Orny Adams, the worst, most insufferable and mercenary hack imaginable struck me as more than a little self-serving.
As for Bee Movie, well, I appreciate that as a deathless meme and unintentional gift to anti-comedy even as I have completely forgotten everything about it with the exception of weird bee/human sexual tension.
I like a whole lot of what Seinfeld has done. I deeply love the sitcom that will forever be his legacy. I re-watch it all the time with my wife. Yet it’s not an exaggeration to say that I pretty much hate Seinfeld as a human being at this point, or at least strongly dislike, as hate is an awfully powerful word to apply to someone who mostly just gets on your fucking nerves. He’s a little like Ricky Gervais in that respect: The Office and Extras are both great sitcoms I could literally never watch again due to my intense personal hatred for Gervais as an insufferable, blowhard narcissist intent on shoving his atheism down everyone’s throat.
Why is it that atheists who bitterly complain about religion being forced upon them by society have no problem forcing their atheism on others?
Though I am endlessly fascinated by the craft and history of comedy, you could not pay me to watch Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I hear good things about Comedians but everything I’ve seen written about it makes it seem like a more accurate title would be Rich, Famous Narcissists Enjoying Their Fame, Privilege.
I don’t need much any more reasons to dislike Jerry Seinfeld as a person but I got some when Seinfeld inexplicably used comedian and actress Bridget Everett’s appearance on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to unload on Bobcat Goldthwait for criticizing Seinfeld for infamously dating a teenager back in the day and having such a vast personal fortune from Seinfeld that he could treat returning to stand-up as a rich man’s fancy rather than an artist returning to his art.
Seinfeld said of Bobcat, “He used to rail against me 'cause they weren’t as wild and dangerous as he was. 'Cause he sucked. He wasn’t funny. And that’s why he didn’t get anywhere... 'Cause in comedy, nobody gives a f--- if you’re cool, if you’re lame. If you’re funny, you win. If you’re not funny, you don’t. And he’s not funny. That’s why he had to do that stupid f---ing voice. 'Cause you have no f---ing act."
Everett, whose special Goldthwait directed, protested that she loved Bobcat but that did not seem to matter to Seinfeld, who ranted, ”You can love him. He’s gonna need the love because he’s not gonna get it from the public.”
Seinfeld’s catty comments were designed to make Goldthwait feel terrible about being a loser that nobody likes. Instead they made Goldthwait look fantastic, like a principled, countercultural punk and iconoclast shaking a righteous angry fists at the comedy establishment and a mogul who seems to think stand-up comedy is about “winning” and being successful, not self-expression or art.
If it’s about money, popularity and “winning” then Seinfeld obviously is the victor in this decidedly one-sided beef. If it’s about fans like myself feeling an intense personal connection to your work as a comedian and filmmaker and having tremendous personal and professional integrity, however, Bobcat is the winner.
In this scenario Seinfeld is a pop culture Goliath trying to strike down plucky little David with his words and his vitriol and coming off like a giant douchebag in the process.
It was a characteristically Trumpian turn for Seinfeld. A man at the very apex of the comedy and pop culture world, world-famous with literally hundreds of millions of dollars to his name, was angry and bitter that someone criticized him harshly when his own fame and wealth clearly illustrated that he was just plain better than Bobcat, and consequently above reproach.
It does not help that two of Bobcat’s best friends and collaborators, Robin Williams and Barry Crimmins, both died not too long ago, or that Bobcat has a sterling reputation in comedy as a true artist, both as a filmmaker and a comedian, and a wonderful human being.
Seinfeld’s gross, entitled little tantrum only served to make me love Bobcat even more and like Seinfeld even less.
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