Tonight Jerry Seinfeld begins his year-long residency at New York City's Beacon City, and to promote his monthly stand-up gigs the iconic comedian stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to perform a short routine. His 7-minute set reminded us of his comedic prowess that long predates Seinfeld, but it also featured a bit curiously similar to one Jim Gaffigan has been using for years, centered upon obese people filmed with their heads cropped out for TV news.
Here's the bit in full, as told by Seinfeld Jan. 7, 2016 :
"(There are) a lot of reports, investigative reports on TV (on) the weight problem in America. They always start the same: sidewalk shot, regular people, carefully angled, cutting them off at the head. We don't want to see who it is. Aren't some of those people at home later going, 'Hey, that's my ass on CNN. That's not fair. I just stepped out to get some donut holes.'"
And here's Gaffigan's, also on the Late Show (with David Letterman), back in 2006:
Once a week on the news they have a piece on American obesity. They'll show a big person walking. They won't show their face, but that person knows it's them. "Well that shirt looks familiar... oh crap." Poor guy gets to work. "Hey Bill, saw your fat ass on the news."
The same routine was also in Gaffigan's Comedy Central special, Beyond the Pale.
It's certainly possible that Gaffigan and Seinfeld arrived at the same joke independently, years apart. The path from watching the news and arriving at the same conclusion isn't unfathomable. Or it's also possible that Seinfeld saw Gaffigan's routine years ago and had it burried in his subconscious, a defense offered by Louis C.K. when Dane Cook was accused of stealing one of his jokes. Whatever the case, the resemblance is uncanny. And it's strange to see the gawd Jerry Seinfeld using a joke that's been done before.
Jim Gaffigan declined to comment, and Jerry Seinfeld has yet to respond to Complex's request.