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"Seinfeld" Trivia and Fun Facts

John Bridges is a published author of history and politics. His doctorate is in criminal justice. He is also a huge fan of "Seinfeld"!

Jason Alexander as George Costanza

Jason Alexander as George Costanza

George

Jason Alexander originally based his portrayal of George on Woody Allen, which is why he wore glasses. When he realized that George was actually based on Larry David, he started basing his performance on David’s mannerisms.

Alexander was in every episode except one, "The Pen." He was furious about being left out and approached Larry David saying, "Larry, if you do it again, do it permanently." George was in every episode after that.

George Costanza is named after Jerry Seinfeld’s (the actor) friend, Michael Costanza. Costanza filed lawsuit against Seinfeld, Larry David, and NBC, claiming invasion of privacy and defamation of character. He sought damages due to the show’s alleged use of his likeness. The case was dismissed.

Alexander’s costumes were often made one size too small. The wardrobe provided a level of discomfort, which added to the portrait of George being constantly annoyed.

Paul Schaffer, Nathan Lane, and Danny DeVito were considered for the role of George Costanza. Seinfeld initially offered the role of George Costanza to comedian Jake Johannsen. Alexander was in a Broadway show with Tommy Tune when he was asked to audition. As an inside joke, George's father, Frank, mentions Tommy Tune several times.

In one fan favorite episode, George quits his job, regrets it, and tried to return as if nothing had ever happened. In real life, Larry David (whom the character is based upon) quit Saturday Night Live (SNL) mid-season and returned a few days later, acting as if nothing had happened.

Julia Louise Dreyfus as Elaine

Julia Louise Dreyfus as Elaine

Elaine

Julia Louise Dreyfus is one of the most decorated actresses in American television history, winning more Emmy Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards than any other performer.

She got her start on Saturday Night Live. It was during her third and final year on SNL that she met writer Larry David during his only year on the show; he would later co-create Seinfeld.

After the Seinfeld pilot premiered, producers decided that the show needed a female main character to add a new dynamic. Initially, this dynamic was meant to be filled by Claire the waitress, but it was decided that the role needed to extend outside of the diner.

Dreyfus beat out Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order), Patricia Heaton (The Middle), Amy Yasbeck (Wings), and Rosie O'Donnell for the part of Elaine.

Despite sharing the same last name with Richard Dreyfus, they are not related. Her father is billionaire Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, a French shipping tycoon.

In a 1998 episode, Elaine is upset that she doesn’t understand the punchline of a New Yorker cartoon and tries to get her own published. Fourteen years later, The New Yorker actually published their own version of the cartoon and invited readers to submit their captions.

Elaine's father Alton Benes, played by Lawrence Tierney, was meant to be a recurring role. The actor, however, terrified the cast, especially Jerry, and he was written out of all future scripts and never returned to the set. It is unknown if Tierney himself was scary or if the actor chose to remain in character.

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One of the most beloved Elaine scenes shows her lack of dancing skills ("Little Kicks"). The scene was written well before it was used. Larry David did not like the script and kept passing on it. Once David left the show, it was pitched again and made into an episode. There was still concern amongst writers and producers that this episode would irrevocably harm Dreyfus's future career.

Lauren Bowles, Julia Louis-Dreyfus's half-sister in real life, actually played the waitress at Monk's who gave George the middle finger. She was only in that one episode, but she went on to become a regular on True Blood.

Michael Richards as Kramer

Michael Richards as Kramer

Kramer

Michael Richards was born in California. His father died in a car crash when Michael was two and his mother never remarried.

Richards was an Army member in 1970 and trained as a medic. Despite the ongoing war in Vietnam, Richards was stationed in West Germany.

Although many people assume actress Denise Richards is his daughter, the two are not related.

Richards portrayal of Kramer was both his greatest accomplishment and his own undoing. No matter what he did post-Seinfeld, he had become typecast and nothing he did could match his mastery of that role. As evidence, his much anticipated Michael Richards Show barely lasted two months. He was forever locked into the role of Kramer.

Comedy requires timing. Richards was a perfectionist as well and liked to complete his challenging physical brand of comedy. He did become frustrated with cast members for laughing, because he would often be forced to redo scenes that were physically taxing. His popularity also became problematic on the set. Once the audience embraced and anticipated Kramer's entrances, producers had to tell the live audience to stop screaming and applauding for him when he entered because it ruined the scenes. If you watch carefully, there are even episodes when you can see camera flashes as Richards makes his entrance.

In the episode when Kramer allows smokers to use his apartment as a smokers lounge, Seinfeld could not stop laughing at the line "Look away, I'm hideous." After a seemingly endless amount of retakes, the producers had to have Jerry turn his back to the audience, although even in the final cut, it is obvious Jerry is still laughing uncontrollably.

Out of the four main characters, Kramer is the only one who never had an inner monologue. In other words, his inner thoughts are never heard throughout the series.

The character of Cosmo Kramer is based on Kenny Kramer, a man who worked across the hall from Larry David. In a self-confessed move to cash in on the sitcom’s popularity, Kenny formed the Kramer Reality Tour, a New York City tour that visits real-life locations featured in the sitcom. The tour still thrives today and was even mocked in the Peterman Reality Tour episode. Kenny Kramer also tried to force the show to change Kramer's name but settled out of court for a $1000 settlement.

Jerry Seinfeld as... himself

Jerry Seinfeld as... himself

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn, but his family moved to Long Island when he was very young. He is Hungarian on his father’s side and Syrian on his mother’s.

Seinfeld had a dream to become a comedian. In his own words, he started at the bottom and did terribly during his first few sets. As he became more confident and his stand-up following grew, more breaks found him. He was a favorite on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. When Jay Leno took over the show, he insisted Seinfeld be the first guest on the show.

Seinfeld first encountered (but did not formally meet) Larry David in 1975, before Seinfeld had committed to a career in comedy. David leaned on Seinfeld’s car outside of a comedy club while talking to another comedian. Seinfeld formally met David three years later in a bar. According to Seinfeld, the two men bonded immediately over the fact that they were “obsessed with the smallest possible issue.”

Surprisingly, a young Seinfeld was the first choice to host a unique 1980s comedy series called Mystery Science Theatre 3000. However, he turned down the chance to watch bad movies with Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot in order to get his own show off the ground. He eventually did appear on the show when it was resurrected in 2017, playing a character named Freak Masterstroke.

Jerry the character owns many pairs of white sneakers. The actor also has this obsession and owns over 500 pairs of white sneakers. He credits Joe Namath and Bill Cosby for influencing his obsession with sneakers.

Jerry turned down an offer of $5 million per episode ($110 million for season 10). He is currently the wealthiest comedian in the world with a net worth nearing $1 billion. He also owns several impressive estates, including one he purchased from Billie Joel in the Hamptons. He has a $25 million yacht, a $22 million private jet, and estates in Oregon and Colorado. He also owns an apartment complex that he lived in while making his initial break into comedy. He rents his apartments to other celebrities, most notably Glenn Close.

Seinfeld owns over 150 collectible cars, including one of the largest privately-owned Porsche collections at 47. He purchased and renovated a Manhattan parking garage to house them. He even spent close to a million dollars on one car alone, which he cannot even drive because it is not authorized for street driving.

Despite his wealth, Seinfeld has always been involved in charitable causes. Together with his wife, they manage the Seinfeld Family Foundation, raising money to aid children and infant causes. Throughout Seinfeld’s run, the chance to sit in the first booth at Monk’s Cafe and be included in a scene was auctioned off for charity.

When Seinfeld was 16, he went abroad to Israel to volunteer on a collective agricultural community known as a kibbutz. This is a tradition among people of the Jewish faith.

Seinfeld identifies his career highlight as being a two-hour-long meeting/social visit with Bill Clinton at the White House.

© 2021 Dr John Bridges

Comments

Liz Westwood from UK on January 14, 2021:

This article demonstrates your impressive knowledge of Seinfeld. It is a great resource for Seinfeld fans. The quiz is a good boredom buster especially for those currently experiencing lockdown.

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