Seinfeld Gleefully Scoffs: ‘Punching Down’ in Comedy? Pure Myth!

  • Jerry Seinfeld thinks the whole "punching down" concept in comedy is bogus, saying jokes are just about being funny or not.
  • He believes comedians shouldn’t stress over bad reviews; they should focus on making people laugh and move on to the next gig.
  • Seinfeld argues that what really matters in comedy is the audience’s reaction, not critics’ opinions.

Jerry Seinfeld Shreds the ‘Punching Down’ Comedy Myth: It Doesn’t Exist

Hey there, comedy lovers! Did you know that the world of humor might be under threat from the so-called "woke mind virus"? Yup, that’s right. And there’s one comedy legend who’s having none of it—Jerry Seinfeld.

The Whole ‘Punching Down’ Business

First off, let’s talk about this notion of "punching down" in comedy. If you’ve been anywhere near the internet lately, you’ve likely heard that comedians should avoid making jokes about “marginalized” communities. The idea is that these jokes target groups that some believe have less power in society. So, it’s a no-go to joke about them because it’s considered insensitive or cruel.

Instead, what’s encouraged is “punching up.” That means making fun of people who hold a lot of power, like politicians and tech billionaires. So, feel free to roast Elon Musk or poke fun at the president. But making jokes about groups that are deemed less powerful? That’s when you’re accused of punching down, and the woke brigade comes for your throat.

Enter Jerry Seinfeld. The comedy mastermind was recently on Bari Weiss’s “Honestly” podcast, and things got interesting. Weiss, a journalist who’s navigated her own transformation from liberal to more free-thinking, asked Jerry about his thoughts on “punching down.” Does he think it’s a real thing? You can almost imagine her leaning in, half-expecting a nuanced take that aligns with today’s hyper-sensitive atmosphere.

Seinfeld’s Take? A Resounding “No”

Without missing a beat, Jerry replied, “No. I don’t.”

Surprised? Maybe. But Jerry broke it down in a way that only a seasoned comedian could. He said, “Comedy is an extraordinarily simple, binary outcome event. It’s funny, or it isn’t. And nobody cares really about anything else. They talk. There’s a lot of talk. What we really hate is when someone does something that’s not so funny and we didn’t laugh and now I’m going to criticize it because it didn’t make me laugh.”

In Seinfeld’s eyes, the audience is the ultimate judge and jury. It’s all about the laugh. And if people laugh, the joke works. If they don’t, well, it doesn’t, and he’ll move on to the next gig.

‘Unfrosted’ and Thick Skin

Jerry also mentioned his stand-up Netflix feature, “Unfrosted.” He confessed that he actually enjoys reading the worst reviews. Why? Because the complaints from people who didn’t laugh crack him up! They were expecting belly laughs, and when that didn’t happen, they got all grumpy about it.

“If you’re built right as a stand-up comic, you don’t give a flying … I’m doing this gig, I’m getting my laughs, I’m getting the money and I’m getting the hell out of here. And when your review comes out, I’m in another city doing the same thing,” Seinfeld shared.

Seinfeld’s perspective is that no single opinion really matters much. For comedians, it’s all about that collective audience reaction. Did they laugh? Great! No laughs? Then it’s back to the drawing board, but no hard feelings.

Real Talk: Comedy and Groupthink

Another intriguing point Seinfeld raised was about groupthink. Comedians thrive on what the audience collectively thinks about their material. “Whatever the group says, that’s the vote. We don’t have to take a vote. The vote has been taken on that joke. You can hate it. It’s still a great joke because the laugh is still there.”

So, next time you hear about comedy needing to be sanitized to avoid "punching down," remember Seinfeld’s words. For him, comedy is about taking risks and gauging the reaction in real-time. If the people laugh, that’s the ultimate thumbs-up.

Why Does This Matter?

You might wonder why all this fuss over comedy styles and what’s considered "punching down." Here’s the scoop: comedy, like any art form, reflects society. When comedians are free to joke about whatever they please, it keeps our societal conversations open and uncensored. Stifling that freedom can lead to a culture where people are afraid to speak their minds, joke, or even have fun.

Seinfeld’s take serves as a reminder that comedy doesn’t have to be so complicated. Funny is funny, and it’s important to keep that spirit alive. So next time you’re watching a stand-up special or scrolling through comedy videos, appreciate the craft for what it is—a fine balance of risk and reward where the ultimate goal is to make you laugh.

And there you have it, folks! If you enjoyed this dive into the world of comedy and Seinfeld’s unfiltered take, don’t keep it to yourself. Share this article with your friends and let’s keep the laughs rolling!

Feel free to leave a comment below on what you think about punching down in comedy. Does it exist, or is funny just funny? Let’s chat!

And just like that, keep smiling, keep laughing, and remember, laughter is the best medicine.

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