Stephen Colbert has an alternate take: 'I can't listen to it now'

By Nick Romano
September 30, 2017 at 12:30 PM EDT

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Can you separate the man from the art when the man is someone like Bill Cosby? This was the topic of debate on The Late Show Friday night between Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert.

Seinfeld, who called Cosby “the biggest comedian of all time” after sexual assault allegations were made, said the controversial figure has “the greatest body of work” in comedy. Colbert said Cosby saved his life. Having experienced a tragedy as a kid, he found solace in listening to Cosby albums “every night” for two years. But now, in light of the numerous allegations against him, Colbert said, “I can’t listen to it now. I can’t separate it.”

This notion perplexed Seinfeld. “I know it’s tragic, but comedy, you know, there’s a lot of tragedy in comedy,” he began. “But I mean there’s a lot of people who have tragic lives.” The star of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee then brought up how Jerry Lewis left out six of his children from his will. “How did you feel about that?” Seinfeld asked Colbert.

“Kind of hilarious,” the late-night host said with a smile. “But that’s like, he denied them money. That’s not the same thing as slipping them a roofie.”

Seinfeld argued that Lewis’ decision “upset” him, but “I’m not gonna not watch The Bellboy. I’m still gonna watch The Nutty Professor. We need the comedy.”

Cosby is currently awaiting his retrial to begin on Nov. 6 in the case of Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who claims Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania mansion in 2004. A Pennsylvania judged granted a mistrial in June when the jury declared they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”

Multiple other women have come forward with similar accusations of assault against Cosby.

Watch Seinfeld and Colbert debate in the video above around the 5:50 mark.

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