Jerry Seinfeld Backs Kevin Hart After Oscars Fiasco

Jerry Seinfeld voiced support for Kevin Hart, a week after the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star lost his chance to host the Oscars in February.

During an interview with Sunday Today's Willie Geist, the former Seinfeld star said he believes Hart's career will be "fine" after the controversy.

"When you look at that situation, who got screwed in that deal?" Seinfeld told Geist. "I think Kevin's gonna be fine. But find another Kevin Hart — that's not so easy. He's a brilliant guy with a movie career."

Hart was hired to host the 91st Academy Awards on Dec. 4, but old tweets with homophobic jokes began to resurfaced. At first, Hart refused to apologize, but he stepped down on Dec. 6 in a series of tweets where he did apologize to the LGBTQ community.

"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past," Hart tweeted. "I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again."

Hart's decision has not stopped him from performing, as he was back on stage performing in Sydney, Australia.

"Kevin is in a position because he's a brilliant comedian to kind of decide what he wants to do,'' Seinfeld told Geist. "He doesn't have to step down, but he can."

The 64-year-old Seinfeld has been a student of comedy history, and now hosts Netflix's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Hart appeared in the show's fifth season premiere in 2014.

"Most of the time, comedians, we are expected to be the most agile in terms of how we think and construct our thoughts and what comes out of our mouth,'' Seinfeld explained. "We have been navigating these slalom gates forever."

Seinfeld said comedians have been forced to make concessions in the past, but still find ways to tell a joke. He brought up the example of performing comedy on The Tonight Show, even though you could not curse.

"It's like Lindsey Vonn: Wherever you put the gates, I'm gonna make them. That's the gig," Seinfeld said.

Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences and ABC only have two months to find a replacement for Hart. Sources told Variety that the Academy's board of governors is seriously considering staging an Oscars without a host. An insider said they could have a "bunch of huge celebs, something SNL style, and buzzy people."

The Oscars are scheduled for Feb. 24.


Photo credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Baby Buggy