Did Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert Almost Fight Last Night? (VIDEO)

Photo credit: Comedy Central

Photo credit: Comedy Central

Jerry Seinfeld was a guest on last night’s Colbert Report, primarily to promote his kinda crappy web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. And it was pretty awkward.

Seinfeld and host Stephen Colbert had a weird, sorta combative chemistry. It was almost as if Seinfeld couldn’t get a read on Colbert’s character, even though it’s been established pretty clearly what his shtick is. Seinfeld seemed bothered by how little Colbert seemed to know about Comedians in Cars, but the Colbert character is always ignorant about whatever his guest is promoting. How could Seinfeld not know that?

Things never got messy — or even that close to it, really — but it certainly wasn’t the love-in you often see when two comedians who respect each other get together. Maybe Seinfeld doesn’t really respect Colbert.

Anyhow, I probably haven’t done a great job explaining how it all went down. And maybe I’m just reading too much into it. You should watch it and decide for yourself:

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5 Responses to Did Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert Almost Fight Last Night? (VIDEO)

  1. Yeah, I thought there was a lot of tension between them too. I even google “animosity jerry seinfeld and stephen colbert” to see if there was some back story to the tension on air.

  2. As you yourself suggest, I think you’re reading too much into it, bro. Or at least you’re reading it wrongly.

    I came to this site by googling “seinfeld vs. colbert,” because I wanted to see if anything had been written about what I thought was a brilliant repartee. It’s interesting to discover that you bought into the ruse, and your main takeaway was to believe that the manufactured conflict was real. And I know you can’t be the only one out there who thinks this.

    Make no mistake, these two men are MASTERS of their craft. Along with Will Ferrell, Larry David, Jon Stewart and a scant few others (maybe Chris Rock, Louis C.K?), Colbert and Seinfeld are the unquestioned giants of American comedy in our time. Watch it again. They are both getting off on the adversarial nature of the interview. They are having a blast one-upping each other and pretending to be in a piss-fest. The running conceit that Colbert is not a comedian goes unquestioned by Seinfeld, though both know it to be untrue–wink, wink, nod, nod. Colbert is nothing if not a comedian, they are both cut from the same cloth, and, I might add, have tremendous respect for each other! Do you think that Seinfeld would have stayed an extra fifteen minutes beyond the allotted time if he were not having fun? Do you think Colbert would have invited him to stay if the relationship were prickly? This is not the Daily Show, where Stewart occasionally tries to engage in a real debate with a guest who has contrary opinions, and the guest stays because he has a point to make. Seinfeld had no point to make. This is the Colbert Report, where irony reigns and every day is opposite day. Did you not notice the carefully orchestrated coffee sipping showdown that closed the segment? Tell me how that wasn’t both comedians working together, very hard, in concert, to be funny for their audience? Do you actually think that that coffee just happened to be there as a prop (related to the title of Jerry’s show), and they just happened to seize upon their two mugs as a vessel through which to replicate the gunfight at OK corral, and that there was real contention in the coffee dual gesture? No way. You missed the point entirely.

    To me the question of whether they like each other is a non-issue. Of course they do. The only real question is: beyond the basic framework of their interview, how much of their interaction was worked out in advance and how much of it was completely improvised? With comedians this brilliant it’s kind of impossible to say.

    Anyway, thanks for your blog, and for posting your thoughts about this, even though I disagree with your analysis. Good to know somebody out there in the blogosphere thought this tv moment was interesting enough to write about!

  3. Glider Pilot says:

    I think it just comes down to their personalities… They seemed to be trying to one up each other… Colbert is used to being in total control and owning his guests… just wasn’t going to happen with the ego that Jerry has

  4. [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Yeah, I came out and searched for Colbert Seinfield tension too!

    I don’t think you’re reading too much into it man, it’s crazy but then Jerry is a bit like that, he once got mad at Larry King for suggesting he was cancelled


  5. Yes, there was some bad chemistry between Seinfeld and Colbert —and there was some inappropriate behavior by one in particular. But you “inappropriately” seem to place the blame on Seinfeld. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love the Colbert Report. Yet there is one aspect of Colbert’s character that infuriates me, more often than not. He’s a lousy interviewer, and he constantly cuts people off in mid sentence and, even when I’m dying to hear the guest response, he drastically shifts the discussion to his own agenda constantly. Even given that he is playing an egotist, using a guest a merely a prop gets old. I realize that any interviewer has to keep his guest from rambling during a short segment. But watch to video. How many times did Seinfeld just begin to make a point when he was quickly cut off? Any good interviewer has to let his guest have a start at getting on a roll and being himself. I don’t think Seinfeld was allowed to get in one complete thought, as they say, “edgewise”. It was so obvious and frustrating to watch. I was amazed at Seinfeld’s gentle demeanor in the face of this barrage (count the words said between the guests as an experiment to prove my point). AND THEN, AMAZINGLY (showing a complete lack of self-awareness, Colbert has the audacity to accuse Seinfeld of being the control freak! What? WHAT??) But, just when it was almost too much to bear, finally, FINALLY, someone “nailed” Colbert in the act —and Seinfeld’s comment appropriately dripped with deserved sarcasm, “Please, please, finish your point” And then silence. Perfect! I’m glad someone had the balls to do it. Colbert has become such a powerful cultural icon, I think (even behind his egotistical role-playing) it really has “gone to his head”. I hope Colbert thinks deeply about that interview and learns something about how he came off. He’s a great satirist and comedienne. I just wish he gave his guests a little more respect when they come on his show. Most just bite their lip and play Colbert’s game, becoming Colbert’s prop. He ran into someone who doesn’t have to bow down and take it, at last!