The comic legend recently sat down with Willie Geist for Sunday Today, where he offered his thoughts on Hart’s acceptance and swift departure from hosting the 2019 Academy Awards and the continuing fallout.
“Kevin is in a position, because he’s a brilliant comedian, to kind of decide what he wants to do,” Seinfeld explains. “He doesn’t have to step down, but he can.”
The Seinfeld star added that, unlike Hart’s detractors, he feels his fellow comic is going to handily weather this storm, whereas the Academy is now in a very difficult spot.
“When you look at that situation, well, who got screwed in that deal?” Seinfeld says. “I think Kevin’s going to be fine, you know. But finding another Kevin Hart? That’s not so easy. He’s a brilliant guy with a movie career.”
Seinfeld went on to explain that the controversy is just the latest in a long line of dos and don’ts that comics are forced to steer through in their careers.
Comedians “are expected to be the most agile in terms of how we think and construct our thoughts and what comes out of our mouth. We have been navigating these slalom gates forever,” he adds.
On Dec. 4, Hart announced that he had been tapped to host the 91st Academy Awards. However, in a matter of hours several old tweets from the comedian surfaced containing homophobic jokes. By Dec. 6, he had announced that the Academy had asked him to apologize, he refused, and announced that he was declining the job offer shortly after (while also apologizing).
"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's," Hart wrote. "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."
"I'm sorry that I hurt people," he added. "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."
Since, a number of names for replacements have been floating around, including the concept of doing the awards show without a host, which is not without precedent. Crazy Rich Asians star Ken Jeong is a frontrunner, getting a full-throated endorsement from four-time Oscars host Whoopi Goldberg during a visit to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert this week.
“He would be brilliant,” she gushed. “It would also constitute the first Asian American to host the Oscars. It would be a whole series of firsts. And he also loves film and I think that’s what you need in a host. You need somebody who actually gets why films are great and can tell you the ins and the outs and the silliness of movies.”
On Wednesday, Jeong sat down with ET Live's Tanner Thomason and Jason Carter to talk about Goldberg’s support and the exciting prospect of heading up the prestigious night.
"I was just so flattered that Whoopi had even said that," Jeong shared. "I didn't even know she was gonna go on Colbert. I just saw her on The View yesterday morning, and, off camera, she was really serious about it. Like, 'You know, you should host,' and 'I'm gonna talk to the Academy,' and it was so lovely, you know, coming from her."
"I honestly don't even think about it except I'm so flattered to be thought of," Jeong said of the hosting job, before adding that he'd "be happy to be a part of it in any way possible."
Get more news on the controversy surrounding Hart and the search for his replacement down below.