A viral video featuring comedians Louis CK, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, and Jerry Seinfeld is being condemned for its language. The clip, from the improvised HBO special Talking Funny, first aired in 2011.
In the video, the four comedians are seen engaging in an unscripted dialogue about wealth. CK draws a comparison between “white rich,” and how it typically involves generational collected wealth, and says, “When a black guy is rich, it’s a countdown until he’s poor again.” Rock calls CK the “Blackest white guy I’ve ever fucking known,” to which CK replies, “You’re saying I’m an [n-word]?”
They begin laughing. Rock, the only Black person in the group, says, “You are the [n-word]-est [n-word] I have ever —” when Seinfeld interjects and says, “I don’t think [CK] could do that. I don’t think he has those qualities.”
Rock and CK begin to protest, with Rock saying that he has worked with CK for a long time. Seinfeld insists that he wouldn’t use the racial slur “anywhere,” while Gervais points out that Rock and CK have used the term in their live performances. “Who says [n-word] onstage? We don’t,” Gervais says, to which Seinfeld replies, “You just did!” CK then jokes, “We say [the n-word] in private,” motioning towards Gervais, which causes him to crack up even further. Seinfeld maintains that he has “not found the humor” in the n-word.
CK is no stranger to controversy. In 2017, he was the subject of a New York Times exposé in which five women detailed incidents of sexual harassment and assault. After a hiatus, CK has recently attempted a return to comedy with impromptu performances at the Comedy Cellar in New York City. The shows sparked widespread controversy, and Refinery29 spoke with two women who protested CK’s appearances.
Some Twitter users pointed out the appalling language from Rock, CK, and Gervais, while others said Seinfeld should not be lauded for simply doing the right thing.
It’s quite clear that even if Chris Rock wasn’t born, Gervais and Louis CK were going to be using the n-word. Black people never have and never will give white folks ✌🏾permission✌🏾to call us that. That’s the jig. We get blamed for their use of it like they ever need our approval. https://t.co/0ToaL3LbdQ— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 23, 2018
Jerry Seinfeld achieved the absolute bare minimum of human decency by saying "I don't know if you should say the racist thing that you just said" and for that I will replace this 360 windmill with a simple fake-spin fadeaway jumper. That is the mercy I have granted him.— Zig Zaddy Kane (@yayforzig) December 23, 2018
You can watch the video below. Please note that the language is disturbing.