Jerry Seinfeld Talks Fatherhood—Including How His Kids Reacted To That Video Of Kesha Trying To Hug Him

“I don’t owe anybody anything. I gave them the show for free.”

by Kristi Garced

GOOD+ Foundation & MR PORTER Host Fatherhood Lunch With Jerry Seinfeld In New York City
Jason Kempin

As it turns out, Jerry Seinfeld just isn’t a hugger. On Monday night at David Lynch Foundation’s National Night of Laughter and Song — in an awkward moment that seemed straight out of an episode of Seinfeld— singer Kesha interrupted the comedian to ask for a hug while he was mid-interview on the red carpet. “No, thanks,” Seinfeld said to Kesha in the video, which has since gone viral as The Snub Seen ‘Round the World. Perhaps in disbelief, Kesha tried once more, and Seinfeld remained steadfast, declining to hug her a second time before wishing her the best.

“My kids are very tough on me on how I deal with the public,” Seinfeld told W of how his children reacted to the diss. “They never feel that I’m nice enough. But I try to explain to them that I don’t owe anybody anything. I gave them the show for free.”

The comedian was co-hosting an early Father’s Day lunch on Thursday afternoon at Le Coucou in SoHo with his wife Jessica Seinfeld, Mr Porter, and GOOD+ Foundation, the organization formerly known as Baby Buggy, which works to break the cycle of family poverty through a national network of programs. The annual luncheon highlights the Engaging Fathers program, one of three areas of focus for the nonprofit.

Thursday’s event, which drew Seth Meyers, Ali Wentworth, Jeff Gordon, Charlotte Ronson, Nate Ruess, Morgan Collet, and more for a three-course meal, also marked the launch of GOOD+ Foundation’s new partnership with Mr Porter. From June 8-18—just in time for last-minute Father’s Day gifting—net sales from a selection of white men’s shirts on Mr Porter will be donated to the organization as part of the White Shirts Campaign. “I describe our relationship with Jessica Seinfeld and the GOOD+ Foundation as the mutual appreciation society,” said Alison Loehnis, president of Net-a-porter and Mr Porter, noting that the initiative is the first of many in a series of events to unfold throughout the summer to raise awareness for the charity.

“Many fathers lack role models and positive support in their lives, so we’re trying to come in and teach them things that they have not had the good fortune of learning very early on. They just need to be brought up to speed a little bit,” said Jessica Seinfeld, who in addition to her work for charity, recently released her fourth book, “Food Swings.” The mom of three praised her husband Jerry as a great father with a strong moral compass and a knack for entertaining their kids.

“I became a comedian, and in this job, there are no days of the week—there’s no morning, no night, no seasons, we do whatever the hell we want,” Jerry explained. “And then when you have a kid, they go to school, and now you’re back in that horrible, the-week-begins-on-Monday, ends-on-Friday thing… That structured lifestyle that I escaped. They pulled me back into the structure.” On the upside, though, his children have taught him a few things—namely, “that superheroes really mean as much as I thought they did when I was a kid.”

Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee web series, meanwhile—which featured Barack Obama in an episode of Season 7 and will make its debut on Netflix this year—will probably not be as welcoming to President Donald Trump. “You need comedic qualifications to be on the show,” he said. “You have to have some standing in the comedy world.”

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