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Gawker's Jerry Seinfeld Mainpage Article / SNL Casting Issues

Just curious, but what do people think of this section of this post on the Gawker mainpage?:

"Funny is the world that I live in. You're funny, I'm interested. You're not funny, I'm not interested," he said. "I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that." He seems to suggest that any comedian who is not a white male is also not funny, though he's also likely fed up with the amount of bad comedy he's been forced to sit through in his (waning) career."


I didn't read his statement at all like the author of the article did. Instead, I read it as a statement that what's he is interested in is finding people he thinks are funny for his show and that he doesn't care about your gender or race when he decides whether or not he thinks you are funny.

That isn't to say that I think he phrased his answer particularly well (perhaps his use of the verb "interested in" in both parts of the statement is misleading), but that seems like a large bit of projecting on the part of the author without further evidence. Full disclosure: I don't actually know enough about Seinfeld's previous statements or his show to make a judgment based on further evidence. And it also isn't it to say that diversity in comedy isn't an issue we should talk about, because it is. I just think that if we're going to try and begin a conversation about that issue, we should be careful to choose a starting anecdote that really exemplifies it and not one that we're shoe-horning into our pre-formed argument. To me, the mainpage article brings up an important point, but goes about it in the wrong way and in doing so undermines its own conclusion (that diversity in comedy is a good thing). I'm just interested to know how other people here read his comment and the author's take on it.

While we're talking about diversity in comedy, I'd also be curious about how people are feeling and what people are thinking about Sasheer Zamata's time on SNL so far. I was definitely surprised when they announced the new cast for this season and it was basically five new sort of young, sort of hipster-y white guys and Noel Wells, so I was pleased when they added Zamata (and the new mid-season writers, whose names I don't know off the top of my head). But the first show she was a featured player in had her in so many sketches I started to get a bad feeling, like she was being featured so often not because of her talent or her experience on the show, but because someone (someones?) was throwing her in our faces to say "Look, here, we did what you wanted. Aren't you happy with us now?". I didn't do any detailed analysis of the number of scenes she was in compared to other featured players, but it seemed like it was a lot more and that she potentially got more screentime that first night than other featured players like Noel Wells or Brooks Whelan have gotten all season. On the one hand, that's not fair to the other featured players. And on the other, it reinforces a sort of other-ing of Zamata and gives the impression she may have been added only to score publicity points not because anyone believed she should be a part of the cast; it almost makes her a token. I haven't watched last weekend's show yet, so I can't tell if that feel has disappeared, but I hope it does because she's a talented and funny individual who should stand on her own merits within that cast.

Sorry, these are two somewhat divergent topics, and there was probably a conversation about SNL weeks ago that I missed. Tell me your thoughts and I will try to respond to them while I read more law review articles about confidentiality and government wrong-doing than my brain can take.


ETA: Thank you for all your thoughtful responses to this! You are all bringing up arguments, discussions and points that I wish had been addressed in the Gawker article.

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