Jerry Seinfeld didn’t have much to say about the controversial Dave Chappelle SNL monologue, focusing on the Jewish community and Kanye West’s recent anti-Semitism controversy.
During the Nov. 12 broadcast, Chappelle himself was accused of anti-Semitism, as he said there are “a lot of Jews” in Hollywood and hinted that “they” might take his platform away.
Seinfeld, who is himself Jewish, was asked what he thought of the monologue during a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“I thought the comedy was well done,” Seinfeld said. “But I think the subject calls for a conversation that I don’t think I’d like to have here.”
When further inquired as to whether the monologue made him “uncomfortable,” Seinfeld replied, “It provokes a conversation that is hopefully productive.”
The namesake Seinfeld star added that he doesn’t have a “close relationship” with Chappelle, as the interviewer suggested, saying, “We’re friends and it’s not a close relationship.”
In the comedic monologue speech, Chappelle argued that West broke “the rules of perception” by suggesting that there was a Jewish conspiracy at the heart of the media industry.
He explained: “You know, the rules of perception. If they’re black, it’s a gang. If they’re Italian, it’s a mafia. If they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never talk about it.”
Tricks star Hannah Einbinder was among those who criticized Chappelle for the monologue, which she said aggravated anti-Semitic sentiments.
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The actor said Chappelle had “used a brilliant technique: two truths and a lie” and got away with sharing anti-Semitic conspiracy rhetoric by tucking it in between “solid jokes” that she too “laughed at.”
“No one who laughs at solid jokes would be willing to admit that there was anti-Semitism in that monologue, because that admission would then qualify them as accomplices,” Einbinder said.
Chappelle’s monologue was also condemned by the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“We shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but it’s disturbing to see @nbcsnl not only normalize but popularize #anti-Semitism,” Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter.
“Why is Jewish sensibility denied or belittled almost every time? Why does our trauma trigger applause?
Chappelle has become a polarizing figure in recent years due to jokes that critics have described as transphobic, which he failed to address in his monologue.
Backlash to Chappelle’s remarks about trans people has previously led to venues canceling scheduled stand-up comedy shows. Earlier this year, plans to name a high school theater after Chappelle were dropped at the comedian’s request following an outcry among students.
Chappelle still continued to tour extensively and his own special The closest was recently nominated for an Emmy.