Jerry Seinfeld says that despite the “horrible things” Bill Cosby is accused of doing, he remains the “biggest comedian of all time,” and one who’s “production and quality of material” will never be rivaled.
Seinfeld spoke on the latest “Norm MacDonald Live,” an online show that never shies away from awkward conversations. (MacDonald’s deadpan, often-ironic delivery can make it impossible to tell when he’s kidding.)
Cosby came up as Seinfeld and MacDonald talked about the comedians who influenced them, and led to a discussion of whether you can separate a person’s art and personal conduct. It included a fair amount of nervous laughter from those in the studio. (You can watch above.)
“I love Bob Hope. I thought he was the greatest comedian ever,” MacDonald told Seinfeld.
“I think Bill Cosby’s the biggest comedian of all time,” Seinfeld replied. “I don’t think anyone will ever match his production and quality of material.”
“Mm-hmm,” MacDonald said, before a pause and some laughter off-camera.
“Do you like Bill Cosby?” asked Seinfeld.
“Love Bill Cosby,” replied MacDonald.
“Did you listen to those records when you were a kid?”
At that point MacDonald finally acknowledged the elephant in the room.
“You know I had maybe the greatest Bill Cosby story ever,” MacDonald said. “And now it’s not in the top 10,000. Because I’ll tell people the story. And then I’ll constantly be interrupted by, ‘And then did he rape you?’ He never raped me. It had nothing to do with the story.”
But dozens of women have accused Cosby of drugging and raping them. He will be retried in an assault case in November, after his first trial ended with a hung jury. Cosby has denied all of the accusations.
“How much are you bothered by the fact that this comedian who you really thought was great turns out to be this person doing horrible things?” Seinfeld asked MacDonald. “Do you separate his work from the person? Does it taint it at all?”
“Not at all,” said MacDonald. “I don’t know nothing about these old fellers. But you hear, ‘Hey: Beethoven raped his own daughter.'”
“He did?” Seinfeld asked.
“Well, let’s say he did,” MacDonald replied. “Would you give a rat’s ass?”
“Yeah, I would,” Seinfeld said. “That’s pretty bad. Pick a different crime. Knocked over a liquor store, let’s say.”