Jerry Seinfeld gave an interview to Sirius XM’s Netflix is a Joke station today and talked about Jerry Stiller as Frank Constanza. Just a note: I’m so glad that Jerry and Anne are getting so much love all week from people everywhere. I was very lucky to know them. Particularly in the decade before Anne became ill, they came to a lot of Broadway openings and some movie premieres. They were friendly with the late actors Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson. Imagine this foursome, with a such history in theater and acting, and I got to hang out with them at these events. It was magic. Now they’re all in heaven, laughing, eating, putting on shows, entertaining themselves and each other. And we will never see the likes of them again.
Seinfeld, promoting his current (excellent) Netflix special said:
“You know, there was a writer on the show, Larry Charles, was the guy who came up with the idea– it was his thinking, we need, who should we get to play George’s father? And he kept saying, Jerry Stiller, Jerry Stiller. And I remember Stiller and Meara from the 60’s, but I hadn’t seen Jerry in a while and I just didn’t– and I thought, well, but he’s not bald. But Larry just kept mentioning him and finally we brought him in and he was so perfect. And those packages of just Jerry Stiller bits on my show are so unbelievably funny.
“What I loved about him is he so completes the George story. When you meet the father, you go, “Oh, now I understand why he’s like that.” It was the perfect finishing of the painting of George Costanza was Frank Costanza. He had the most amazing comedic stuff that he– we didn’t know if he was planning it or it just came out that way, or he couldn’t remember the line, or we didn’t know what it was, but we did not want to disturb it in any way. We never gave Jerry Stiller a note. I never adjusted his performance once.
“Whatever he did, that’s it. We’re putting that out there. I don’t know why he did it like that. I don’t know why he screamed on that line. It doesn’t matter. It’s funny. So funny. I am such a dedicated believer in if it’s funny, don’t touch it. I don’t care why it’s funny. I don’t care what the line was supposed to be. He said it that way, we’re doing it that way.”
I couldn’t embed it, but you can hear Jerry say these words here.