It’s a great time to be Andy Kindler. The comic and standup comedy critic has had a lot to talk about lately.
“People are worried about the 'PC police,'” he says. “Jerry Seinfeld had a joke that didn’t kill at a show. The joke went, ‘Blah, blah, blah, gay French king.’ He’s enraged by it and doesn’t want to play colleges anymore, which works out nicely because he doesn’t play colleges now.”
Kindler explains how the controversy started: “What happened was his friends told him not to play colleges anymore. I’m trying to reconnect the dots like those crime shows,” he laughs. “He did this joke about a gay French king, and unlike Richard Pryor, who expected controversy, Jerry Seinfeld expects love at all times.”
Seinfeld made his comments about college crowds and political correctness on ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “He also said his daughter made a comment about something being sexist, and that got him angry. So, it’s a couple of isolated incidents that have nothing to do with playing colleges.”
Kindler adds that colleges have always been terrible places to perform, at least for some comedians, regardless of political correctness.
“Only in the movie Annie Hall were colleges good to play.” Kindler says it has more to do with the way most college shows are booked. “They block-book people, including ventriloquists and jugglers — not that there’s anything wrong with those acts, as Jerry Seinfeld would say — but it’s like a big bazaar.”
Another enemy of the "PC police" who was quick to rush to Seinfeld’s defense is Kindler’s long-time nemesis, Bill Maher. Always quick to criticize those who he perceives to be thin-skinned, Maher rails against the politically correct crowd with, among other things, Asian driver jokes.
“He’s always been a terrible joke teller. We can all agree on that,” Kindler says. “Science has established that. He can’t tell a joke after all these years. He’s been doing it for almost 50 years and he still says, ‘I kid the president.’”
Kindler also thinks Maher is a bigot. “He hates Muslims. He really does. He hates all religion, of course, but he hates Muslims the most. He thinks it’s okay to say Muslims are bad people because it fits into his whole religion thing. He got hired to do the commencement speech at Berkley, and the kids wanted him replaced because they heard some of the horrible things he said.”
Maher turned it into a free speech issue. “Free speech is one of the most bogus issues being raised today,” Kindler states. “Especially after people like Lenny Bruce lost work and suffered for what they said. Now free speech is used for people to say, ‘I want to say whatever I want, but I don’t want your free speech to complain about it.’ It’s only certain free speech they want.”
All of this comes at the perfect time for Kindler, who will once again deliver the keynote speech at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal later this month. “I think it’s my 19th year,” he says. “I try not to focus on how many years it’s been, I try to focus on how many years I have left on this planet. But yes, every year things present themselves to me so I’m kind of lucky. Like the Seinfeld thing was a gift to me out of nowhere, because who expects him to pipe up? And I love Seinfeld, I love the show Seinfeld, both have made me laugh. But the fact that he made a big deal out of all this, he got on my bad side, which he doesn’t realize means nothing.”
IF YOU GO:
Acme Comedy Co.
708 N. First St., Minneapolis
8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
For more info, call 612-338-6393 or visit www.acmecomedycompany.com