Back in 1989 when the sitcom “Seinfeld” began, it was (and still is) described as a “show about nothing.” However, it has since spoken to millions of Americans and people all over the world, who love its dry humor, ridiculous real-life experiences, and peculiar but relatable characters.
That was 26 years ago. Even though the show ended in 1998, “Seinfeld” is still a cultural phenomenon with millions of viewers who can’t get enough of the hit series through re-runs and on-demand programming available through Hulu. Click on to read about all the show’s juicy secrets and learn what the cast has been up to since the show ended. You won’t believe who almost got the part of Elaine!
Co-creator and comedian Jerry Seinfeld developed the show with Larry David. His character on the show was a semi-famous comedian, remarkably similar to himself. He was also neurotic, judgmental, and somewhat confused about where his life was headed, yet he was also endearing, fun, and someone we would love to hang out with.
Jerry, Since Seinfeld
Since the show ended 15 years ago, Jerry has worked on several projects. One of the latest is his web series, “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” In the webisodes, Jerry picks up a comedian in fun vintage or sporty cars and he takes them out for coffee. Jerry sits down with his guest and they casually chat about life, comedy, and whatever other weird subjects they land on while they’re drinking their espressos. He has earned more than $800 million from his “Seinfeld” creation.
As George Costanza, Jason was able to play up his character’s ridiculous, neurotic tendencies and become the George we all loved but were annoyed by. George was perpetually unemployed, and at one point was forced to live with his parents. George was the guy who was constantly caught in big lies and who managed to score a lot of dates, despite his rather pathetic life choices.
Jason, Post-George Costanza
Since the show ended, Jason has worked on many television and movie projects. He has been very well received in the theater community and has focused much of his acting passion on the stage. Most recently, he was in Larry David’s Broadway musical, “Fish in the Dark.” We will watch anything that involves Larry and Jason — including a reunion show that the cast has promised will never happen. Sigh.
A secondary character in the show, Newman was played by Wayne Knight. Newman is mostly a villain on the show, and has an extremely antagonistic relationship with Jerry. While he was always out to “get” Seinfeld and his friends, he was also a fan favorite because of his unabashed attempts to take advantage of every situation for his own benefit.
Newman No More
Since his few appearances on Seinfeld, Knight has gone on to continue acting in many television shows including Seinfeld’s creator, Larry David’s show “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which requires actors to ad-lib many of their hilarious lines. He also made an appearance on the hilarious TV Land series “Hot in Cleveland,” where he once again played a creepy neighbor.
Larry David helped create, produce, and write “Seinfeld.” He actually included much of his own bizarre life experience in the plot lines and was often featured as side characters in the show. If you have ever watched “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” you can pretty much tell which jokes he wrote and which plot lines he created for “Seinfeld.”
Larry David Today
These days, Larry David is still entertaining and using his personal experiences as inspiration. Most recently he starred in “Fish in the Dark,” a Broadway play he wrote, as well as appearing numerous times as 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live.” He continues to maintain his status as one of Hollywood’s biggest hitters.
Norman Brenner originally played Kramer’s double on the show. However, he can also be seen dozens of times as an extra floating around in the background. There are multiple websites dedicated to finding Norman. He’s basically the “Where’s Waldo” of the TV world, and when you catch a glimpse of him you’ll understand why he played Kramer’s double.
In the Season 8 episode entitled “The Pothole,” Jerry’s girlfriend’s toothbrush falls into the toilet and she uses it again before he can tell her. Gross, right? Well, as it was for most of the show, this crazy plot line was inspired by true events. One of the show’s writers shared his story of the real-time situation in which he couldn’t tell his girlfriend that her toothbrush had taken a swim in the toilet before she used it. In fact, when asked about it recently, he said that he still has never told her about the toilet toothbrush.
The Puffy Shirt
This is the famous shirt that helped coin the phrase, “But I don’t want to be a pirate!” This shirt is now a part of the Smithsonian American History Museum’s collection and, though it’s being stored at this time, was on display in 2012. Despite Jerry Seinfeld actually wearing the shirt on an episode of the show, the style never became a best seller — at least not in the last 100 years.
Did you know that the show’s original pitch was for a 90-minute television special called “Stand Up.” It was going to be aired during “Saturday Night Live’s” regular air time. It would have been a TV movie about nothing, which doesn’t seem like something most people could become invested in watching like they did the hugely popular TV show.
When Seinfeld Calls It Quits, He Means It!
After the last episode of the last season, Seinfeld stated he no longer wanted to film anymore season. In hopes of changing his mind, NBC ended up offering Seinfeld $110 million dollars to do a season 10 (which is $5 million per episode), but Jerry Seinfeld declined the offer. I guess when he makes up his mind, that’s all there is to it. Good for you, Seinfeld, in not letting money sway your decisions!
It Wouldn’t be the Same Without…
In an interview with “Access Hollywood,” Jerry explained to Billy Bush how casting for the show went. At first, it sounded the everything went smoothly, with Jerry hand-picking each of his castmates. However, as the interview went on, Jerry admitted that he originally had someone else in mind for the part of George Costanza. It was comedian Jake Johannsen. Jerry admittedly begged Johannsen to play the part.
The Number of Completion
Jerry Seinfeld loves the number nine. Did you know he was a numbers guy? He told Vanity Fair in a 1998 interview, “Nine is cool. By the end, we will have done 180 shows (1+8=9).” The comedian admits that when he decided to cancel the show he thought nine was a good number of seasons. Soon afterwards he would learn that a nine in numerology means completion and that immediately told him the right choice was made.
Who can forget Kramer? Michael Richards played Jerry’s weird, eccentric neighbor, Cosmo Kramer, who loves to get into mischievous antics. Remember in season 7 when Kramer wears incredibly tight jeans and can’t get them off? He was constantly working on his next big business project but never actually seemed to have a job on the hit TV series.
Michael After Seinfeld
When the show wrapped up, he tried a spin-off called, “The Michael Richards Show.” The show didn’t do well, and Richards decided to move on to stand up comedy. However, that didn’t bring him much luck either. In the middle of a show, he had a breakdown that included calling audience members various racial slurs. He has since apologized for his bad decisions that night.
Don’t Leave Jason Out
Word to the wise: never leave Jason Alexander out of an episode. One time his character wasn’t included in an episode (Season 3, “The Pen”) and he was not happy about it. Evidently, he was afraid of being written off the show and warned Larry David, “if you do it again, do it permanently.” We couldn’t imagine Alexander not remaining a cast member for the entire nine-season run.
Jerry Stiller Passed Away In 2020
Jerry Stiller, known as Frank Costanza to “Seinfeld” fans, was the real-life father of actor Ben Stiller. He passed away on May 11, 2020. Ben confirmed the sad news in a tweet. “He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad,” the message read.
Jerry and his wife Anne Meara were the comedy team “Stiller & Meara,” frequent guests on variety shows in the 1960s. They became famous after an appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Stiller continued to act after “Seinfeld,” most notably as Arthur Spooner on the sitcom, The “King of Queens.” Jerry Stiller was 92 when he passed away.
Did you know that the fake holiday Festivus was not actually made up on the show? In fact, Festivus had been around for a long time before the show had even come about. It was actually created by one of the writers’ fathers to commemorate this first date with his wife. The writer introduced it and now we will forever be celebrating Festivus! That might be the best present he could have ever given to his wife — fans worldwide now celebrate their anniversary without even knowing it.
Will the Real Costanza Please Stand Up?
Just like with the Kramer character, George Costanza was also inspired by a real life person. Michael Costanza knew Jerry from school and when he found out that his name was used in the show, he was beyond angry. In fact, he sued Jerry, Larry David, and NBC for $100 million and later wrote a book called The Real Seinfeld (As Told by The Real Costanza). He says, “George is bald. I am bald. George is stocky. I am stocky. George and I both went to Queens College with Jerry. George’s high-school teacher nicknamed him ‘Can’t stand ya.’ So did mine. George had a thing about bathrooms and parking spaces. So do I.”
WHO Was Almost Cast As Elaine?!
Anyone can audition for open roles, but do you know who was close to being given the part for Elaine Benes? None other than Rosie O’Donnell, who was asked to come and audition by Larry David. Evidently, the two go way back. Megan Mullally and Patricia Heaton were also seriously considered. Those were some tough acts to beat out for the role of Elaine.
And The Part Of George Goes To…
There were a few actors who were interested in the role of George Costanza. Jason Alexander ended up being the best man for the part, but before they chose him some other guys gave it a shot. One of them being Steve Buscemi. David Alan Grier was also considered for the character. We can’t picture anyone other than Alexander playing the role after so many years on the show.
What Could Have Been
When “Seinfeld” ended, Michael Richards (Kramer) was almost cast in the USA hit comedy series “Monk.” The writers actually hoped to have Richards for the starring role but he passed it up because he didn’t like the script. It’s ironic though, because Tony Shalhoub — who won the role in “Monk” — also was seriously considered for the part of Kramer. Oh, how things would have been different if these two actors had each taken the other’s roles.
“The Bet” was an episode that was written for the second season but was abandoned after the cast had difficulties really making it work. It was about buying a handgun. Jerry explained that they began production of the episode but stopped in the middle and said “this doesn’t work. We did the read-through and then canceled it. A lot of other stuff happened, but trying to make that funny ended up being no fun.”
The episode was never completed.
Talking About Buttons
You might not have realized this, but if you watch the first episode and the very last episode in season nine, George and Jerry have almost the same exact conversation about buttons. Jerry’s correct though —the second button really does make or break the shirt. What a random, and yet sweet, way to finish off the series.
Kramer Was Originally Called Kessler
In the pilot episode of “Seinfeld,” the character of Kramer was named Kessler. Larry David’s previous neighbor, Kenny Kramer, was hesitant to allow his name to be used. He was eventually paid just $1,000 for his naming rights. While he wasn’t rolling in dough from the show, he has managed to use his semi-quasi fame to launch Kramer’s Reality Tour bus tour which has now operated for 19 years.
Jason Alexander Didn’t Think The Show Would Last Even One Day
Jason Alexander revealed in an interview in 1992 that he loved the pilot script for the TV series but he didn’t believe it would last “even one day.” Alexander admitted that he knew from the start that it would be “the most brilliant thing I would ever be involved with.” He said as a non-TV viewer he believed the show was being filmed for an audience of one. He was wrong and the show has gone on to earn billions of dollars in revenue.
Larry David Has A Strict Policy For ‘No Hugging, No Learning’
Co-creator Larry David wanted the show to be a dark comedy which meant his characters were not supposed to grow sentimental or grow in any personal way. To accomplish that goal he had a strict “no hugging, no learning” policy that kept his very popular characters from ever changing. It’s funny but many of us actually know people like this.
The Farrelly Brothers Wrote An Episode Of ‘Seinfeld’
Two years before Dumb & Dumber debuted, Bobby and Peter Farrelly wrote an episode of “Seinfeld” titled “The Virgin.” The episode, which appears in season 4, features Jerry dating Marla the virgin. Elaine attempts to educate Marla with a crash course about what she needs to understand about intimacy in the 1990s.
A Miller Brewing Executive Was Fired For Talking About The Show
Jerold Mackenzie lost his executive-level job at Milwaukee’s Miller Brewing after he attempted to discuss an episode of the show with a female employee. It was the episode in which Jerry can’t remember his girlfriend’s name but recalls that it rhymes with a female body part. After Mackenzie was fired he filed a counter-suit and was awarded $26.6 million. His lawsuit was overturned on appeal.
A Jackie Stiles Spinoff Was Talked About
One year after the “Seinfeld” finale, there was plenty of talk about a new spin-off called “The Jackie Chiles Show.” Phil Morris was set to star in the show after he made a handful of appearances on the series as a fast-talking, Johnnie Cochran-like lawyer. He was working with Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld to create a show about a black attorney who was working at an all-white law firm. We don’t know why plans fell through but this sounded like it could have been awesome.
George Steinbrenner Actually Filmed Scenes For The Show That Never Aired
George Steinbrenner’s voice was usually the work of Larry David, however, he eventually appeared to film scenes for the show. In his unaired work, he asked Elaine to attend George’s wedding with him. The cameo never aired but at least we know that the former Yankee’s leader was a good sport about his fictional role on the popular comedy series.
Jerry Seinfeld Had A Least Favorite Episode
When asked if there was any work on “Seinfeld” that he felt was particularly awful, Seinfeld said he didn’t care for the episode titled, “The Alternate Side.” That was the episode in which Jerry’s car is stolen, George blocks traffic, and Kramer never gets to appear in a Woody Allen movie to utter his now famous line, “These pretzels are making me thirsty!” It was definitely a very strange episode that really didn’t fit into the show’s overall theme.
Jerry Seinfeld Did Have A Favorite Moment
While he didn’t like “The Alternate Side,” there was one particular moment that Seinfeld says he loved more than any other moment on the show. That moment came at the end of the marine biologist episode in which George pulled out a golf ball from the throat of a whale to save its life. He has said on various occasions that it was his favorite moment from the entire TV series.
Before “Seinfeld” debuted, the credits for the show’s main characters were displayed very clearly at the start of every single episode. Jerry and Co. decided instead to display credits over the start of a scene. While that practice is now commonplace, it raised a lot of questions at the time about the future of TV credits. It was a very simple but industry-changing move.
Jerry Says ‘Hello Newman’ This Number Of Times
“Hello, Newman” is one of Jerry Seinfeld’s most popular lines on the hit TV series. His pure disgust for Newman is both funny and well-deserved. Newman constantly wants to make Jerry’s life a mess and he often succeeds. Surprisingly, because Newman wasn’t a regular on the show, Jerry only says “Hello, Newman” 16 times throughout the entire TV series.
The Show Was So Huge That TV Land Honored It With A Single Image
On May 14, 1998, the final episode of “Seinfeld” aired. In honor of the momentous occasion the executives at TV Land decided to leave the timeslot completely empty. In place of a TV show, the network instead put up a still photo of a closed office door. That specific moment showed just how popular the TV show had become. TV Land appreciated Jerry Seinfeld and his antics so much that they didn’t even bother to compete against the show’s final airing.
The Woody Allen Connection To George Constanza
The glasses that Jason Alexander wore during the TV series were meant to pay homage to Woody Allen. In fact, his mannerisms in the first episodes were also meant to mirror the famous writer, director, and actor. However, Alexander soon realized that the character was actually fashioned after co-creator Larry David. His mannerisms soon changed but he kept the glasses.
The TV Show Cheered Up Steven Spielberg During A Very Trying Time In His Life
As you can probably imagine, filming Schindler’s List was a very depressing experience for famed director Steven Spielberg. He once commented that during the most trying times of the TV series he would watch episodes of it simply to to cheer him up after particular hard days on the set. Not a bad person to be endorsing your TV series.
Larry David Wasn’t Going To Allow Network Executive Interference
Larry David wanted his team to have full control over “Seinfeld” and that meant he was often very volatile during meetings with NBC executives. It got so bad that the network eventually banned him from future meetings. Perhaps it was that determination to keep clueless executives away from the show that allowed it to be so good for so long.
The Naughtiest Episode Of Dharma And Greg
One night before the final episode of “Seinfeld” aired, ABC showed an episode of Dharma & Greg in which the couple attempted to get naughty outdoors. Their reason for the couple’s decision to get frisky outside? They believed everyone in America would be inside preparing to watch the “Seinfeld” finale and no one would even notice them. They were pretty much right about that assumption and the “Seinfeld” finale was one of the most-watched series conclusions in TV history.
MTV Did Something Brilliant During The ‘Seinfeld’ Finale
During the original airing of the show’s finale, MTV aired original cartoons that were timed to fit into the finale’s commercial breaks. Viewers could switch over to MTV and once the cartoon edited immediately flip back over to “Seinfeld” so they wouldn’t miss any of the final show’s moments.
Kramer’s Wardrobe Wasn’t Meant To Make Him Look Like A Retro Clothing Lover
Kramer’s wardrobe from the 1960s and 1970s was meant to show that the character never bothered to shop for new clothes. If you watch closely you will notice that many of his pants are way too short for his tall and wiry frame. Over the years it became much harder to find clothes for the actor so the TV show’s wardrobe department had to create various backup copies of his clothing to replace worn down and damaged clothing.
TV Guide Editors LOVED THE SHOW!!!
How good was “Seinfeld” when it aired and afterward? The editorial group of TV Guide, who all know a thing or two about popular TV series, ranked it as the #1 TV show of all time. It outranked “I Love Lucy” (1951) and “The Honeymooners” (1955). Given the rich history of TV shows that’s a very impressive ranking for the show, which aired for nine seasons.
Jerry Never Rides His Bike But The Model Always Changes
Seinfeld never rides his bike in an episode of the TV series but the model that hangs in his apartment is constantly changing. Perhaps he just likes to display the newest model available to him. Perhaps he’s just obsessed with impressing his female friends with new bikes on his wall. That second possibility seems the most likely, given his character’s persona.
Larry David Was The Original Voice Of Newman
Larry David was the original voice of Newman in the episode titled, “The Revenge,” but Wayne Knight eventually joined the cast and became a regular actor on the TV series. When the popular TV series was eventually released in syndication Wayne Knight dubbed over the original audio to match his own voice.
A Shoutout To A “Crazy” ABC Executive
You know a show has aired for a while when its TV producers are starting to be mentioned in the show. The character “Crazy” Joe Davola was named after one of the TV series’ executive producers. Watch closely and you will quickly notice many other shout outs as the series ended its final historic nine-season run.
Probably Shouldn’t Steal Butcher Knives
Elaine’s Dad on the show, Alton Benes, is a famous author, and also based on real life author Richard Yates. On the show, Alton was played by Lawrence Tierney, who was famous for playing tough mobster characters. He was meant to appear regularly on the show, but the writers decided not to have him for more than one appearance because he scared the living daylights out of them. Jerry found out that he had stolen a butcher knife from the set and hid it under his coat. Yeah, I’d say that’d be enough to never ask someone to come back.
A Few Hilarious References To Co-Creator Larry David
In the episode where Kramer options his coffee table book for a Hollywood movie, there are several hilarious references to the show’s co-creator Larry David. In several newspaper stories, there are references to the following headlines: “Larry David Gets Hole in One,” “Larry David Injures Elbow,” and “Larry David Never To Play Golf Again.”
The Jewish Disconnect
We know there are a lot of Jewish directors, producers, and actors in Hollywood. We could honestly care less about an actor’s religion — we just want them to play their character perfectly. With that being said, Michael Richards was the ONLY major cast member on “Seinfield” who was not Jewish. That’s Hollywood for you.
We Didn’t Know Kramer’s First Name Until The Sixth Season
Kramer was originally going to be called Conrad. However, an episode in the second season called “The Bet” was eventually called off. That was the episode that was supposed to reveal his first name. It took a full four seasons before the show’s producers to reveal the character’s first name. At the time some people said his first name reveal was “too gimmicky” for the show.
“The” Is Missing From Only Two Episode Titles
If you are obsessed with “Seinfeld” you may have noticed that only two episodes don’t start with the word “the.” Those episodes include “Male Unbonding” and “Highlights of a Hundred” It’s a small detail but one worth noting in a show that hand 180 episodes. That’s a pretty high level of consistency.
George’s Broadway Connection
Were you aware that Jason Alexander was cast in the Neil Simon play “Broadway Bound?” You might have noticed a shout-out to the production in a Season 3 episode in which Alexander wears a baseball shirt with the show’s title. The actor appeared in the show’s original New York run.
Just Kill Her Off
Evidently, the cast had quite a bit of sway when it came to the show and to the smaller characters on the series. For example, when Susan and George were dating on the show, Jason Alexander had a difficult time creating comedic gold during their scenes together. He couldn’t “figure out how to play off her,” he explained in a Howard Stern interview years later. Eventually, Julia Louis-Dreyfus experienced the awkwardness and exclaimed to Jason,”Don’t you just want to kill her?” And just like that, Susan’s fate was sealed.
No Soup For You!
Evidently there is a real Soup Nazi, Ali Yeganeh, and he was not happy about the character he inspired on “Seinfeld.” He appeared in several television interviews and admitted that he does not like to be portrayed as a “clown.”
You have to watch the video of an interview Yeganeh gave to understand just how angry he really was about the show’s character.
Elaine was Jerry’s quirky ex-girlfriend and one of his very best friends. Anyone remember that dance she did at the J. Peterman company party? Those terrible dance moves! She was just as neurotic as her male counterparts and she managed to pick every horrible guy in the city to date. She even hooked back up with Jerry for a brief fling as “friends with benefits.”
Since she said goodbye to her alter ego Elaine, Julia has kept herself very busy. She can be seen in many hit shows including “Veep” on HBO, “The New Adventures of Old Christine” on CBS, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “Arrested Development.” She’s as funny as ever in “Veep” with a character who is both “take charge” and totally clueless at the same time.
They Hid Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Pregnancy
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was pregnant for part of the TV show’s filming. As is often the case in those situations, her belly was hidden behind various props to keep it a secret from fans of the TV show. That decision was later parodied on “The Nanny,” when a very much pregnant Lauren Land talked about Elaine’s hidden pregnancy while standing behind a poster that read “baby.”
The Show’s Writers Were Worried They Ruined Julia’s Career By Making Her Dance
Larry David had left the show by the eighth season but he was still concerned when he learned about “The Little Kicks.” In that episode, Julia Louis-Dreyfus danced — very badly. One writer questioned if her dance moves would end the comedian’s career. They moved forward anyway and that year she won an Emmy.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Didn’t Even Know About The Pilot Episode Until 2004
A different actress played the female lead in the original pilot for “Seinfeld.” In a making-of documentary that debuted on the season one DVD for the show, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus admits that she wasn’t even aware of the pilot until 2004. She apparently wasn’t interested in watching the show. “I think I watched two episodes in 10 years just because I had friends on it or something,” she said.
More specifically, Elaine Way. Some big “Seinfeld” fans in Australia decided that Elaine did not receive as much attention or admiration as her male co-stars. So they made a collage out of photos of Elaine and pasted it up in a 10×20 foot span of alleyway in Melbourne and hung an unofficial “Elaine Way” sign near it. That’s quite a tribute! We’re sure Elaine would exclaim “get out!” if she saw this fan gesture.