What's the Deal With People Hating Jerry Seinfeld? Comedian Keeps Landing in Hot Water

Jerry Seinfeld did in fact date a 17-year-old girl when he was 38 but don't worry, she was very mature for her age. Obviously.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 13 2024, Updated 12:42 p.m. ET

Jerry Seinfeld does standup at a benefit
Source: Getty Images

If you had all the money in the world, or at the very least a good chunk of it, what would you do? After paying off all my bills and handing out a decent amount to family, friends, and various charity organizations (guess I'm a good person!), I would buy a reasonably sized house with a fireplace. Apart from my immediately starting an Instagram account focused solely on adopting numerous senior dogs, social media would never hear from me again. Why bother? I'm very happy with the frosty-faced pups.

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Why can't wealthy people seem to enjoy their money in peace? What's there to be cranky about when one can go to the doctor anytime they want? Take Jerry Seinfeld, for example, a comic known for his very unassuming bland content. He's your parents' favorite comic, regardless of how old your parents are. Despite this, he can't seem to stop making people angry. Why do people hate Jerry Seinfeld? It's like despising white toast.

Jerry Seinfeld performs during Philly Fights Cancer: Round 4 at The Philadelphia Navy Yard
Source: Getty Images
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Why do people hate Jerry Seinfeld?

Jerry can't seem to stay away from rants that suggest the politically correct community is coming for comedy. And while erring too much on either side is bad, no one thinks the guy who traffics in airplane food–style jokes is going to offend anyone anytime soon. Historically speaking, Jerry has never said anything remotely upsetting on stage. It's what he says and does off stage that tends to give people pause.

In April 2024 The New Yorker profiled Jerry, which is when he took yet another opportunity to express his fear about the future of comedy. He wasn't focused on stand-up but rather film and television. He lamented the years when one could go home and pop on shows like All in the Family or Cheers. Nowadays, Jerry believes shows like these can no longer exist because of "extreme left and P.C. crap, and people worrying so much about offending other people."

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And while he makes at least one good point regarding how distilled something can be after going through several rounds of notes from studio executives, Jerry attributes that to woke liberals and not the lack of creativity from the upper levels. He believes the only unchecked place one can find anything funny is at a stand-up show, where people can say whatever they like. Anyway, Jerry made a movie about Pop-Tarts which is a fairly unoffensive breakfast food.

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Remember when Jerry Seinfeld dated a 17-year-old girl when he was 38? Sorry to remind you!

Something Jerry is either unwilling or incapable of admitting is the main reason why people don't like him is because he dated a 17-year-old girl when he was 38. Where does a much older man meet an underage girl? Why, in a park, of course. According to a 1994 People report, Jerry was "strolling through Central Park one day in May 1993 when he spotted a stranger he now calls 'the most wonderful girl in the world.'"

That wonderful girl was Shoshanna Lonstein, who, at the time, was a senior at the private Nightingale-Bamford School in Manhattan. He made small talk, presumably about her homework, and sauntered away with her phone number. A few months later, Jerry went on Howard Stern where he claimed to have no idea she was "that young." He brushed off their relationship, claiming it was only one date. Well, that wasn't true.

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Shoshanna Lonstein and Jerry Seinfeld at the 2nd Annual Screen Actors Guild of America Awards
Source: Getty Images

By the fall of 1993, Shoshanna was a freshman at George Washington University where Jerry frequently visited. She would often fly to Los Angeles where the couple spent weekends together. "I think it’s serious between them," said Jerry's friend and fellow comic George Wallace. "She’s beautiful and mature. She’s good for him." (Someone always has to say "mature" in case anyone brings up the madness of her age.) Jerry assured the outlet his "interest in her [was] very proper."

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Eventually, Shoshanna transferred to UCLA to be closer to Jerry. They would go on to date for four years but broke up due to the constant attention from the press, per the Daily Mail. She was also keen to return to New York City to pursue a career in fashion, which was a success.

Why did students walk out on Jerry Seinfeld's commencement speech?

May is graduation time and for many college campuses across the United States, the 2024 graduation year held more gravitas than usual. That year is significant for those students because these are the kids who missed out on their 2020 high school graduations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few ceremonies were canceled due to student protests over the conflict in Gaza, which may have contributed to a less than favorable reaction to Jerry's commencement speech at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

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NBC News reported that the comic was "met with a wave of boos" along with several students walking out right before he was set to take the stage. Some were carrying Palestinian flags while a few were wearing the black-and-white keffiyeh which has become a symbolism for Palestinian nationalism. Jerry has been an outspoken supporter of Israel since the October 2023 Hamas attacks, and signed a letter supporting Israel's right to defend itself along with 700 people in the entertainment industry, per the BBC.

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Not everyone was against Jerry as a speaker. In response to the protest, many students chanted, "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" in support of the actor. The school itself was mindful of the possibility of pushback. A statement released by Duke spokesperson Frank Tramble said, "We understand the depth of feeling in our community, and as we have all year, we respect the right of everyone at Duke to express their views peacefully, without preventing graduates and their families from celebrating their achievement."

Did Jerry Seinfeld go to Duke?

Normally, a commencement speech at a college or university is given by an alumni or someone who has done significant work in that community. Jerry grew up in New York and did not attend Duke University. According to the NY Daily News, upon graduating from Massapequa High School in Long Island, he high-tailed it to the "frozen north, in the form of the State University of New York at Oswego smack dab in the middle of the Blizzard Belt," in the winter of 1972.

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He landed at SUNY Oswego because it was the only state school that had any sort of radio and television program that allowed its students to gain actual experience. Unfortunately the slower life of a state school outside of New York City wasn't enough for Jerry, who transferred to Queens College in 1973. While there, he lived at home and commuted to school. This was also the first time he did stand-up, at a basement show in the home of his friend Mike Costanza (yes, this last name should sound familiar).

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