Jerry Seinfeld and Jimmy Fallon found themselves in a quandary Tuesday night over the words “Jesus Christ.”
The dilemma arose when Jerry appeared on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and the two began a conversation about marriage.
“It’s fun being married,” said Jerry, who reported that he’s now been married for 13 years. “I love being married. I got married late in life. I got married at 45, which is the — you’re probably going to have to cut this joke out, but I’ll do it any: I always call 45 the ‘Jesus Christ’ point of singlehood because … when you tell people you’re still single at 45, they go [deleted]!”
Well, a viewer could tell from Jerry’s lips that the deleted words were “Jesus Christ.” And he was correct in his assumption that the words would be censored (there was no bleep, just silence). But his first utterance of the words, above, were not censored. Nor was Fallon, when he asked an off-screen producer, “Can you not say Jesus Christ?”
The conclusion: The words “Jesus Christ” do not have to be excised when they’re uttered as a literal reference to the savior. But, when used as an exclamation, such as at the end of Jerry’s joke, the words are censored by network Standards & Practices.
It was an aspect of the TV business we’d never considered before. In fact, one of the things we always like about seeing Jerry Seinfeld on talk shows is that he inevitably has wise — and also hilarious — observations to offer about show business.
Seinfeld commented on the nature of late-night talk shows from the very beginning of his appearance on “Fallon.” “This is great,” he declared when he sat down. “It’s great already because we’re all in suits! And this is what you thought show business was when you were a kid and you were trying to get into this. This is the dream! We’re all in suits!”
Seinfeld even complimented Fallon on his show, mentioning how much he enjoyed Fallon’s ongoing “Thank You Notes” segments (from which two best-selling books have been published). “I love your little tiny desk,” Seinfeld said, “the little fake job interview set-up, which is part of all talk shows. And the key to any one of these shows, as you already know, you gotta come up with a bit that you can go back to and repeat, like your thank you notes, which everybody loves!”
Jerry came on the show to promote his Web series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”