In an impassioned defense of his beloved and beleaguered New York City, comedian Jerry Seinfeld has some harsh words for a Manhattan comedy club owner who bolted for Florida and recently claimed the Big Apple is “completely dead” with no hope for a rebound.
“You say New York will not bounce back this time,” Seinfeld writes in a New York Times opinion column posted today, not naming his target but linking to a LinkedIn post written earlier this month by Stand Up N.Y. comedy club co-owner James Altucher. “You will not bounce back. In your enervated, pastel-filled new life in Florida. I hope you have a long, healthy run down there. I can’t think of a more fitting retribution for your fine article.
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“This stupid virus will give up eventually. The same way you have.”
Altucher, whom Seinfeld calls a “putz,” wrote in his August 13 post that COVID-19 has led to, among other things, the city’s economic devastation, increased crime, and the loss of restaurants and cultural institutions.
“I co-own a comedy club, Standup NY, on 78th and Broadway,” Altucher wrote… “It’s a great club. It’s been around since 1986 and before that it was a theater…In the past year, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, Tracy Morgan, and many others have been on the stage.”
“I love the club,” he continued, noting that Standup NY has recently staged shows outdoors. “That said, we have no idea when we will open. Nobody has any idea. And the longer we close, the less chance we will ever reopen profitably.”
“Broadway is closed until at least the Spring. Lincoln Center is closed. All the museums are closed. Forget about the tens of thousands of jobs lost in these cultural centers. Forget even about the millions of dollars of tourist and tourist-generated revenues lost by the closing of these centers.”
Altucher’s critique was no laughing matter for Seinfeld. “The last thing we need in the thick of so many challenges is some putz on LinkedIn wailing and whimpering, ‘Everyone’s gone! I want 2019 back!'” the Seinfeld star writes. “Oh, shut up. Imagine being in a real war with this guy by your side.”
Seinfeld continues: “He says he knows people who have left New York for Maine, Vermont, Tennessee, Indiana. I have been to all of these places many, many, many times over many decades. And with all due respect and affection, Are .. You .. Kidding .. Me?!
“He says Everyone’s gone for good. How the hell do you know that? You moved to Miami. Yes, I also have a place out on Long Island. But I will never abandon New York City. Ever.”
Seinfeld adds, “You found a place in Florida? Fine. We know the sharp focus and restless, resilient creative spirit that Florida is all about. You think Rome is going away too? London? Tokyo? The East Village? They’re not. They change. They mutate. They re-form. Because greatness is rare. And the true greatness that is New York City is beyond rare.”
Oh, and about that Manhattan venue? “I have been onstage at your comedy club Stand Up N.Y. quite a few times,” Seinfeld writes. “It could use a little sprucing up, if you don’t mind my saying. I wouldn’t worry about it. You can do it from Miami.”
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