Jerry Seinfeld says he believes Kevin Hart’s career will “be fine” following the fallout from Hart’s announcement and subsequent departure as the host of the Oscars, believing that it was the Academy that ultimately “got screwed” in the process.
Speaking with Willie Geist on “Today,” Seinfeld addressed the culture that surrounds modern comedians as they navigate social media and public reaction both on stage and off.
“Kevin is in a position because he’s a brilliant comedian to kind of decide what he wants to do,” Seinfeld said. “He doesn’t have to step down, but he can. And when you look at that situation, who got screwed in that deal? I think Kevin is going to be fine. But find another Kevin Hart? He’s a brilliant guy with a movie career.”
Hart last week stepped down as host of the 2019 Academy Awards after decade-old tweets and comments from the comedian surfaced that were homophobic. Hart initially rejected an ultimatum he says he received from the Academy to either apologize or step down, resulting in additional public outcry.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” Hart said on Twitter. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
The Academy has yet to appoint a new Oscars host.
Seinfeld said comedians have had to deal with changing rules and expectations about what can be said and what is acceptable for as long as he’s been a comedian, including censoring dirty language in their routines in order to get on “The Tonight Show.”
“Comedians, we are expected to be the most agile in terms of how we think and construct our thoughts and what comes out of our mouth. We have been navigating the slalom gates forever,” Seinfeld said. “It’s like Lindsey Vonn. Wherever you put the gates, I’m going to make them. I’m going to make the gates. That’s the gig.”
Watch the video via “Today” below: