‘Seinfeld’ is the greatest sitcom of all time, according to Vanity Fair/’60 Minutes’ poll

Vanity Fair and “60 Minutes” surveyed Americans on comedy matters and report that “Seinfeld” was chosen just slightly ahead of “The Honeymooners” as the greatest sitcom of all time. The results:

- “Seinfeld” — 22% call it the greatest sitcom ever
“The Honeymooners” — 20%
“Friends” — 16%
“Cheers” — 14%
“Arrested Development” — 7%
“Mary Tyler Moore” — 6%; and
“30 Rock” — 5%

More comedy survey results, including “the funniest letter of the alphabet,” are after the jump.

Press release

SEINFELD COMES IN FIRST, JUST AHEAD OF THE HONEYMOONERS AS THE GREATEST SITCOM

BOTH MEN AND WOMEN AGREE MEN ARE FUNNIER THAN WOMEN

SEXUAL ASSAULT IS THE TOPIC MOST AMERICANS SAY JOKESTERS SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM

MOST AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHO JUDD APATOW IS

New York, N.Y.—“Seinfeld” is chosen just slightly ahead of “The Honeymooners” as the greatest sitcom of all time. Women agree with men that men are the funnier sex, while all agree that sexual assault is a topic that should be most off-limits to comedians. Who is Judd Apatow? Most Americans say they don’t know. That’s what Americans are saying in the latest VF Comedy-issue inspired 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll, the results of which can be found on 60Minutes.com and VF.com.

The survey also gauged Americans’ thoughts on the funniest letter of the alphabet, if being funny is innate or can be developed over time, and which types of employees have the least sense of humor.

Twenty-two percent of Americans say that “Seinfeld” is the greatest sitcom, just beating out “The Honeymooners,” with 20% of the vote. “Friends” and “Cheers” follow closely behind, with 16% and 14% of the vote respectively, while “Arrested Development” receives just 7%, “Mary Tyler Moore” 6%, and “30 Rock” 5%.

Sixty percent of Americans — including most women — think men are the funnier sex, while just 22% think women are funnier and 15% say there is no difference.

When asked which topics should be off-limits to comedians—September 11th, sexual assault, religious figures, or sick and disabled people—men (38%) and women (32%) agree that sexual assault is not fodder for jokes. Women (28%) are twice as likely as men (14%) to think that all of these topics should be off-limits.

Only 14% of Americans know who Judd Apatow is, correctly identifying him as a director, writer, and producer. (He’s also guest editor of the January comedy issue of Vanity Fair.) Of the vast majority who don’t know who he is, 15% guessed that he was a former Clinton speechwriter, 5% said that he was a creator of “South Park,” 3% thought Apatow was a 70s country-music star, and the rest couldn’t give an answer.

Elsewhere in the poll, 22% of those questioned say Q is the funniest letter of the alphabet, most Americans (56%) say being funny is something you can develop over time, and D.M.V. employees are selected as the least likely to crack a smile (over airport workers, toll collectors, and nightclub bouncers).

The 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll is a monthly measure of the American conversation on a range of topics rather than one specific subject. Geared to offer a wide-angle view of the country every 30 days, the poll explores attitudes on culture, lifestyle, current events, and politics to create a national survey. 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair work together to formulate topics and questions; the poll is conducted by the CBS News Election and Survey Unit, a high-profile source of American opinion since 1969.

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This poll was conducted at the CBS News interviewing facility among a random sample of 1,132 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone on October 12–15, 2012. Phone numbers were dialed from random-digit dial samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3 percent. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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