Seinfeld rails against comedy club owner who declared NYC dead: 'Oh, shut up'

Jerry Seinfeld railed against comedy club owner James Altucher for his recent declaration that "New York City is dead forever," with the iconic comedian advising Altucher to "wipe your tears, wipe your butt and pull it together” in a Monday New York Times op-ed.

The commentary comes as New York, which had one the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. earlier this year, has seen shootings and homicides skyrocket. In July, according to the New York Police Department, shootings were up 177 percent when compared to the same month last year. Over the first seven months of the year overall, the number of recorded shootings has jumped 72 percent. 

"Manhattan is an island off the coast of America. Are we part of the United States? Kind of. And this is one of the toughest times we’ve had in quite a while," Seinfeld, who has lived in New York since 1976, wrote in the Times


"But one thing I know for sure: The last thing we need in the thick of so many challenges is some putz on LinkedIn wailing and whimpering, 'Everyone’s gone! I want 2019 back!' Oh, shut up. Imagine being in a real war with this guy by your side," he continued.

"Listening to him go, ‘I used to play chess all day. I could meet people. I could start any type of business.’ Wipe your tears, wipe your butt and pull it together.

"He says he knows people who have left New York for Maine, Vermont, Tennessee, Indiana. I have been to all of these places many, many, many times over many decades. And with all due respect and affection, Are .. You .. Kidding .. Me?!" he wrote.

More than 1.4 million people have moved away from New York in the past decade, according to a December analysis of census data by the Empire Center for Public Policy. Up until June 30 of this year, approximately 181,000 more residents had moved out of the state than had moved in over the previous year.

In his Aug. 17 piece for The New York Post, Altucher argues that "everyone has choices now" for where they live due to working remotely or attending class without going to an office or campus. 

"You can live in the music capital of Nashville, you can live in the 'next Silicon Valley' of Austin. You can live in your hometown in the middle of wherever. And you can be just as productive, make the same salary, have higher quality of life with a cheaper cost," Altucher wrote. 


"There won’t be business opportunities for years.

"Businesses move on. People move on. It will be cheaper for businesses to function remotely — and bandwidth is only getting faster," he continued. "Wait for events and conferences and even meetings and maybe even office spaces to start happening in virtual realities once everyone has spread out from Midtown Manhattan to all over the country."

Seinfeld says that the city will be able to recover thanks to "real, tough New Yorkers" who will rebuild it. 

"This stupid virus will give up eventually. The same way you have," Seinfeld wrote.

“We’re going to keep going with New York City if that’s all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back," he added.

Altucher responded to Seinfeld's piece on social media, calling it a "ranticle."

“Jerry is a good guy but I wish he saw the actual reality of what is happening now,” he wrote.

--This report was updated on August 25 at 8:05 a.m.