Comedians Bobcat Goldthwait and Dana Gould were premiering their new documentary comedy special Joy Ride at the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas, earlier this fall where “Jerry Seinfeld is a god,” and as the section of the film about Goldthwait’s decades-long feud with that iconic comedian approached, he started to get a little nervous.
“I was relieved when they burst into applause after I said, ‘Jerry Seinfeld finally has an opinion and it’s about me,’” Goldthwait tells me on this week’s episode of The Last Laugh podcast. “I was really happy to hear comedy nerds laughing at that.”
“Hot dog buns and Bobcat Goldthwait, the two things that get his goat,” Gould jokes.
Goldthwait goes on to explain in the film how Seinfeld used an episode of his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee—or “Rich Comedians in Cars Bitching About Their Diamond Shoes Being Too Tight,” as he calls it—to attack him during a conversation with the comedian Bridget Everett.
“If you’re funny, you win. If you’re not funny, you don’t,” Seinfeld says in the episode. “And he’s not funny. That’s why he had to do that stupid fucking voice. Because you have no fucking act!” Everett, who has to then tell Seinfeld she is good friends with Goldthwait, laughs uncomfortably throughout his rant.
In response, Goldthwait says on stage that he “wants” to say that Seinfeld’s “only talent is being Larry David’s friend,” but that’s “old” Bobcat talking. You know, the guy who told Arsenio Hall in 1994 that Seinfeld is “the devil” and a “spooky, weird Scientologist guy banging teenage girls.” That was right after Goldthwait infamously spray-painted “Paramount Sucks” on Hall’s set to protest the late-night show’s imminent cancelation. He now takes back the Scientologist part, sort of.
So during our conversation, I asked Goldthwait to elaborate on the origins of his long beef with Seinfeld, with some humorous support from his new comedy partner Gould. He didn’t hold back.
Below is an edited excerpt from our conversation and you can listen to the whole thing—including stories about Robin Williams, ‘The Simpsons’ and a lot more—right now by subscribing to The Last Laugh on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts and be the first to hear new episodes when they are released every Tuesday.
I do love that you include your beef with Jerry Seinfeld in the film.
Bobcat: Yeah, the whole thing with Seinfeld, on his show, with my friend Bridget Everett, he goes off on me! And it reminded me of a Western, where I’ve given up gun-slinging and Jerry comes to the middle of the town and he’s like, “Goldthwait!” And I’m like, “I don’t want to do this.” And he’s like, “Goldthwait!” So I take the .45s off the wall and I meet him in the town square.
Dana: Gunfight at the Friars Club corral.
So there’s this kind of famous moment in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee where he talks about you to Bridget Everett, but your name is bleeped, which I think is very odd.
Bobcat: Yeah, that was really weird.
I don’t know if he was worried about a legal thing there or why they decided to bleep your name.
Dana: I would almost guarantee that.
Bobcat: Well, I don’t bleep anything. Well, actually I do bleep one thing.
Dana: The creepy thing in that—not to keep pouring attention on it—but, to me, what I found unsettling as somebody who knows both parties was his obvious delight in his guest’s discomfort.
Making Bridget squirm, having to kind of defend her friend.
Dana: And laughing, I thought that was kind of gross.
Bobcat: There’s a really weird edit. It looks like an edit from a Dean Martin roast, where he’s saying all this horrible crap and then Bridget is laughing. If you look at it, and I looked at it because I was editing it [to include in the film], clearly she’s laughing at something else.
Dana: She’s in a different outfit… She’s on a beach.
Bobcat: We should just call this movie a “Cease and Desist” because of all the legal ramifications. But the one thing that is bleeped—I talk about him banging teenagers, but that’s not bleeped—is when I called him a Scientologist, which isn’t true. He is not a Scientologist. He just went to Scientology meetings and thinks it’s a really good thing for some people. Especially for the people whose families were destroyed by it, he thinks it’s really good.
Dana, you said you know both parties and obviously you were on Seinfeld the show, and I assume you’ve known him for a long time. What’s your relationship with him?
Dana: Professionally courteous. And literally, I haven’t seen him probably since I was on the show. I mean, I don’t know if he would even know who I was if he met me.
But you’re the Summer George!
Dana: I am the Summer George. You know, there’s a coffee shop across the street from the Scientology Center and you would sit outside and they used to come over. They don’t do this anymore and they would solicit you and they’d go, “Hey, can I ask you a question?” And you can tell, the outfit was pretty self-explanatory.
And there’s that big blue building across the street.
Dana: And when we were young and ironic we would go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” And then we would engage it for a couple of minutes and then we would go like, “You know what I need? I need a cult. I need a mind-control cult.” And then they would get up and storm off. And it was like, well, we wasted some of their time.
Bobcat: A Scientologist is supposed to rate a conversation, like our conversation. They’re listening to this and they go, “Oh, it’s a six, it’s a seven.” And then they’re supposed to raise it a few points. So I worked with this woman who was a Scientologist and she’d come in and go, “How are you doing today, Bobcat?” And I’d be like, “You know what? I truly don’t think I could become happier. I really feel so happy.” I’m pretty sure that’s why Tom Cruise jumped on that couch. Because the crowd’s already so excited, so his job is to raise the level. So he jumped on the couch.
The one thing that’s not in the documentary that I was curious about is, did you ever talk to Bridget Everett afterwards about what was going through her mind in that moment with Jerry?
Bobcat: Yeah, I mean, the day it dropped, she sent me a text going, “Hey, there was a really weird thing and I didn’t think it was going to be on the show.” She was squirming and I was like, “Hey man, that’s not on you.”
And now it’s material.
Bobcat: Yeah, and that’s the thing. I really don’t hate the guy. It’s worse. I don’t care about him. If you wake me up in the middle of the night, I don’t go, “Seinfeld!” I thought he and I were OK, believe it or not, because his manager’s a really sweet guy and I see him a lot. I probably was close to even apologizing to him. And then he went crazy, it’s so weird.
What did you feel like you had to apologize for?
Bobcat: For just singling him out. Look, you know, when you go on a talk show and you write in a Sharpie on your T-shirt “Kill Seinfeld,” which I did do on NBC, that’s kind of a dick move.
Next week on The Last Laugh podcast: Insecure and The White Lotus star Natasha Rothwell.