In 2011, long before “comedy-talking comedians” became a familiar, mainstream podcast format, HBO aired a one-hour special. “Talk funny, “in which four popular and respected (at the time) stand-ups and writers discussed the art and art of telling jokes for a living. Panelists: Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Louis CK and Ricky Gervais critically acclaimed; TV Guide’s Matt Roush (via Metacritic) called it “addictive” and Brian Lowry of Variety liked the “easy rapport” comedians and found their conversation “fun”.
“Talking Funny” apparently didn’t impress mainstream audiences much, as a clip from the show went viral and sparked a backlash for HBO – seven years after it first aired. In the pictures (via USA today), Rock, a black man, told CK, a writer for HBO’s “The Chris Rock Show” in the ’90s and a white man, that he’s the “blackest white guy I know.” Response from CK: “You say I’m a *****?” Rock then joked, “Yeah, you’re the n **** is f ****** white man.” The two actors, as well as Gervais, burst out laughing, while Seinfeld remained visibly uncomfortable. “I don’t think he can do that,” Seinfeld said. “I wouldn’t use it anywhere,” he added, regarding the N-word his co-stars were throwing.