An uncomfortable clip of Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, and Louis C.K. from HBO’s 2011 special Talking Funny has resurfaced on social media.
In it, Gervais and C.K. casually use the N-word, with Rock calling the Louie creator the “blackest f*cking white guy I know.” (The two first worked together on The Chris Rock Show.) C.K. responds, “You’re saying I’m a n*****?” Gervais can be seen laughing while Rock continues to heap praise on C.K. for being “the n****est f*cking white man I have ever [met],” which is when an uncomfortable-looking (and noted “clean” comedian) Seinfeld speaks up. “I don’t think he can do that,” he protests. “I don’t think he has those qualities.” Seinfeld insists he wouldn’t use that word anywhere, and when Gervais asks “who says n***** on-stage, we don’t,” he fired back, “You just did.”
Seinfeld is being widely praised for being the voice of reason against Gervais and C.K.’s insistence that they, two white guys, are somehow allowed to use that word. “I know black folks who are completely comfortable with white people saying the n-word in their presence. Have had to tell a few white folks that I’m not that black person. Still it says something the only person who was uncomfortable was Seinfeld,” journalist Jemele Hill tweeted, while director Ava DuVernay wrote on Twitter (and deleted), “When you’re watching something disappointing, then for the first time in your whole life, find yourself wanting to give props to Jerry Seinfeld.”