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Diva Jason Alexander almost quit "Seinfeld" because he wasn't getting enough screen time

"Seinfeld" could have looked very different if one of the main stars followed through on his threat to leave the hit show.

Michael Richards, who appeared on the show as Kramer, revealed that Jason Alexander, who played George Costanza, nearly quit the show after "The Pen" episode.

Neither Alexander nor Richards appeared in that episode, as Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) and Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) pay a visit to Jerry's parents in Florida.

Page Six obtained an excerpt of Richards' upcoming memoir, "Entrances and Exits," where he says he took not being on-screen with "equanimity," but says Alexander had a different approach.

"Jason threatens to quit after learning that he’s also not in the episode. He’s furious," Richards wrote in his memoir, according to the outlet.

Richards was able to sympathize with Alexander.

"Jason came onto the show with the most confidence of anyone," Richards wrote, Page Six reported. "He had won a Tony Award on the New York stage, not an insignificant achievement, and until the table read for ‘The Pen,’ he has assumed that ‘Seinfeld’ is a buddy show, starring him and Jerry."

He continued, "But this business breeds both massive egos and incredible insecurity, and this episode is one of those ego-jarring wakeup calls."

Alexander confirmed Richards' claims in 2017. He told Access Hollywood at the time that he had snapped at Larry David, the lead writer for the sitcom, and threatened to leave the show.

Alexander said he had told David, "If you do that again, do it permanently … if you don't need me here every week, I'd just as soon go back home and do what I was doing."

"Thank God he didn’t say ‘Take a hike,’ because I would have had no life and no career," Alexander emphasized at the time.

Reps for Alexander did not have any additional comment.

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by Anonymousreply 59May 30, 2024 2:21 PM

Sounds like even Alexander admits he had Big Ego Syndrome at the time, and has since come back to Earth a bit.

by Anonymousreply 1May 26, 2024 12:47 PM

Misleading headline!

by Anonymousreply 2May 26, 2024 12:52 PM

In this case I agree with Alexander. It’s ridiculous not to include a co-star at all. The character could have at least said goodbye to Jerry or drove him to the airport. Would there be a Golden Girls episode deliberately leaving out Blanche or Rose?

by Anonymousreply 3May 26, 2024 3:23 PM

Miss Jason Alexander will not be IGNORED, Dan!

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by Anonymousreply 4May 26, 2024 4:39 PM

Jason Alexander also got ballsy after Pretty Woman became a massive hit.

The episode had Jerry and Elaine visiting Jerry's parents in Florida - you can't write EVERYONE into an episode just for equity.

This type of squabbling over air time happens a lot. I can sort of see it though - Michael Richards would open the door and do one funny bit and then leave for the rest of the episode.

by Anonymousreply 5May 26, 2024 4:44 PM

He’s a total asshole

by Anonymousreply 6May 26, 2024 4:47 PM

Couldn't agree with you more, R6.

by Anonymousreply 7May 26, 2024 4:53 PM

He also got the woman who played "Susan Ross" fired, because he didn't like her acting.

Jason Alexander is a real cunt.

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by Anonymousreply 8May 26, 2024 4:54 PM

The most beloved episode of I Love Lucy doesn’t feature Ethel.

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by Anonymousreply 9May 26, 2024 4:57 PM

It was an odd choice. They could have had scenes with George and Kramer back in NYC in the episode.

by Anonymousreply 10May 26, 2024 5:19 PM

My question is: did he get paid, or not, for that episode?

In the Golden Girls, yes, they would have had a shitty B-plot involving 2 characters.

E.g., "Journey to the Center of Attention" (Dorothy & Blanche compete for attention at the Rusty Anchor, Blanche does tragic version of "I Want to Be Loved by You," losing a shoe in the process).

Shitty B-plot: Rose throws a "wake" for Estelle Getty, who is actually still alive.

The B-plot almost ruined the episode.

by Anonymousreply 11May 26, 2024 5:21 PM

He got a LOT of screen time. Yeah, he must have been in some crazy headspace. And to be part of that cash cow and get paid like they ended up getting paid - he should be incredibly thankful, which it seems like he is now.

by Anonymousreply 12May 26, 2024 5:42 PM

I wonder how he felt about Jerry Stiller coming on board. I know that actors like for their characters to get elaborate back stories, but Stiller was such a huge character. Was Jason upset?

by Anonymousreply 13May 26, 2024 6:36 PM

I liked Frank, but Estelle Costanza is probably my favorite secondary character.

by Anonymousreply 14May 26, 2024 6:41 PM

Just go back to sleep under your desk, George.

by Anonymousreply 15May 26, 2024 6:47 PM

This is not exactly breaking news, OP.

by Anonymousreply 16May 26, 2024 9:41 PM

George was the best character

by Anonymousreply 17May 26, 2024 9:51 PM

"George is getting upset!!"

by Anonymousreply 18May 26, 2024 9:57 PM

George likes his spicy chicken!

by Anonymousreply 19May 26, 2024 9:59 PM

It was the early days of the show. If the episode had been written in the later seasons, all four main characters would have appeared and given their own random subplots.

by Anonymousreply 20May 26, 2024 10:02 PM

I hated when George went to work for the Yankees. I just didn’t find anything funny about it.

by Anonymousreply 21May 26, 2024 10:23 PM

There's only ONE star of a Jason Alexander show... and that's ME, baby: Jason Alexander! Remember?

by Anonymousreply 22May 26, 2024 10:29 PM

I wish he had quit. His was the one character on that show I mortally hated. His whiny, pathetic, neediness sickened me.

by Anonymousreply 23May 26, 2024 10:31 PM

No George no Festivus.

by Anonymousreply 24May 26, 2024 10:33 PM

jason alexander was THE star of Seinfeld and it's so obvious

by Anonymousreply 25May 26, 2024 11:11 PM

If you hated his character, then he did a great job...he was supposed to be a reprehensible asshole, and he nailed it.

by Anonymousreply 26May 26, 2024 11:15 PM

Did he still get paid for the episode? If so, I wouldn't complain, I'd be home sleeping in and relaxing.

by Anonymousreply 27May 26, 2024 11:39 PM

[quote] If you hated his character, then he did a great job...he was supposed to be a reprehensible asshole, and he nailed it.

Or he was just being himself.

by Anonymousreply 28May 27, 2024 12:27 AM

Either way, r28, he's laughing all the way to the bank being himself or acting as a shit human being.

He's fine and sends his love!

by Anonymousreply 29May 27, 2024 12:29 AM

[quote] I hated when George went to work for the Yankees. I just didn’t find anything funny about it.

I didn't hate it. It just wasn't a great use of employment to develop a character.

I hated how all of his girlfriends looked unattainable, for him, in real life.

I did like how he kept comparing himself to Ted Danson, apropos of nothing.

by Anonymousreply 30May 27, 2024 12:32 AM

R27, I agree with you. However, we might feel differently if we were in a similar situation. We might start to worry that if they don’t us for one episode they may decide they don’t need us for any.

by Anonymousreply 31May 27, 2024 2:33 AM

He seemed to be on it all the time to me. I loved to hate his character.

by Anonymousreply 32May 27, 2024 2:46 AM

I remember when (20 years ago?) the USC Theater School hired Professor Jason Alexander (né Jay Greenspan) to teach a class or two. There was a fair amount of eye rolling since he dropped out of BU without graduating and having earned no degree. Students had to apply, including a head shot, to get into his class. But I heard that he was a good instructor and students who took his class were duly impressed.

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by Anonymousreply 33May 27, 2024 2:53 AM

George was the best character.

by Anonymousreply 34May 27, 2024 2:56 AM

If Jason Alexander did not like Heidi Swedberg and her character had to go, that arc was comedy gold.

The cheap, toxic glue on the wedding invitations?! I'm laughing remembering it right now.

by Anonymousreply 35May 27, 2024 3:00 AM

George and Elaine were the most relatable characters. And let's be real, Jerry was also pulling women on the show that he should not have been getting.

by Anonymousreply 36May 27, 2024 3:09 AM

Whenever my sister and I see someone wearing jeans with sneakers, we call them Jerry Seinfeld. There is no way Jerry was pulling women like prime Teri Hatcher in jeans and sneakers with that pouffy hair. He looked like an urban Tim the Toolman wannabe.

by Anonymousreply 37May 27, 2024 3:13 AM

[quote] The cheap, toxic glue on the wedding invitations?! I'm laughing remembering it right now.

IMO, that wasn't funny.

by Anonymousreply 38May 27, 2024 3:17 AM

Elaine, on the other hand. She and David Puddy were a somewhat odd, yet plausible couple. They did have chemistry.

I also liked the episode where MLB player Keith Hernandez and Elaine dated, causing Jerry to be jealous of Elaine. Another odd couple, yet plausible, somehow.

by Anonymousreply 39May 27, 2024 3:18 AM

[quote]He also got the woman who played "Susan Ross" fired, because he didn't like her acting

Did you read the article you linked, R8?

JLD & Seinfeld didn't know what Alexander was griping about until they had to work with the actress, afterward, JLD made a comment about killing off the character and that was that.

[quote]“I couldn’t figure out how to play off of her,” Alexander said of Swedberg... “Her instincts for doing a scene, where the comedy was, and mine were always misfiring. And she would do something, and I would go, ‘OK, I see what she’s going to do — I’m going to adjust to her.’ And I’d adjust, and then it would change.”

[quote]Later on in the show’s run, with producers still unsure of whether Susan and George would go through with the wedding or what her future would be, Jerry Seinfeld (Jerry) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) shared a number of scenes with Swedberg and finally understood what Alexander had been grousing about.

[quote]“They go, ‘You know what? It’s f—ing impossible. It’s impossible,'” said Alexander, who stressed that he had nothing against Swedberg personally. “And Julia actually said, ‘Don’t you want to just kill her?’ And Larry went, ‘Ka-bang!'” Just like that, the character’s fate was sealed (so to speak).

by Anonymousreply 40May 27, 2024 3:35 AM

It's a wacky sitcom; why does it have to be "plausible" if the characters could get their dates "in real life?" Did that ruin the show for everyone? Apparently not. It's seemingly the number one critique of every fictional television show - is it realistic; does it portray life EXACTLY like "real life." I never remember such an obsession with "reality" before the internet.

by Anonymousreply 41May 27, 2024 5:47 AM

The first Florida episode is one of my favorites from the early seasons. The episode is about Jerry and his parents. I think Elaine is there to represent the majority of the viewing audience reacting to the mishigas of Jerry and his family. It’s normal to Jerry, but to Elaine, it’s not.

Jerry and his parents get on each other’s nerves but don’t scream angrily at each other. George would have brought in a completely different vibe, which is based in anger and was amplified by his parents later in the series. I think it’s why Jerry’s parents are upset in a later season when George’s parents move to Florida. I think George wasn’t in the first Florida episode for a reason and not to slight Jason Alexander.

By the way, I can say from personal experience that the Florida episodes aren’t too far from reality!

by Anonymousreply 42May 27, 2024 9:43 AM

Jerry was the weakest link

by Anonymousreply 43May 27, 2024 11:22 AM

The Susan character and actress worked because they didn’t fit in. Alexander and the rest stupidly thought they had to play off of Swedberg the same as they did each other.

by Anonymousreply 44May 27, 2024 1:23 PM

Yeah George and Susan were a funny pairing. I thought Swedberg was great in the role. And it gave us the Rosses.

by Anonymousreply 45May 27, 2024 4:29 PM

I was a supporting series regular on a TV show 20 years ago, my character was the lead in the B story in the episode after the pilot and I had a lot to do through the first 5 episodes. I read the script for the 6th episode and flipped out because my character seemed to have a lot less to do. I thought what did I do wrong? Very upsetting. Recently, I rewatched the episode and I was surprised how much I did have to do, Also- the number of lines you have has nothing to do with the presence you have on the show. One little scene can have a big impact, But at the time, I was freaking out.

by Anonymousreply 46May 27, 2024 6:10 PM

R46, I'd love to know more.

by Anonymousreply 47May 27, 2024 6:23 PM

IMO, JLD over-played being "high" or drugged-up (yelling "Stellaaaaa!!!) in that Florida episode. It would have already been funny with Jerry's parents being too cheap to turn on the AC, too cheap to have a decent guest bed.

by Anonymousreply 48May 27, 2024 7:19 PM

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was so good as Elaine.

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by Anonymousreply 49May 27, 2024 7:25 PM

R47- ask me anything

by Anonymousreply 50May 28, 2024 2:27 AM

Are you our C-list actor?

by Anonymousreply 51May 28, 2024 7:05 AM

Are you our Hallmark silver daddy?

by Anonymousreply 52May 28, 2024 7:21 AM

Yes, r51

by Anonymousreply 53May 28, 2024 5:57 PM

R48, I couldn't disagree more. That and her dancing are roll on the floor funny.

by Anonymousreply 54May 28, 2024 8:41 PM

I can't hear "Slow Ride" without thinking about Elaine.

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by Anonymousreply 55May 28, 2024 10:45 PM

Listen, few of us (except C-list actor, perhaps) can appreciate wheat it’s like for an actor.

You have a run-of-show contract and they don’t use you for an episode… you’d still get paid… but you can’t help thinking the show is moving away from your character, because it’s unusual not to use regulars (that is starting to change as some shows are signaling that regulars won’t have the episode guarantees they used to have).

Being an actor is tough.

by Anonymousreply 56May 28, 2024 10:51 PM

R56, meet R31.

by Anonymousreply 57May 30, 2024 1:07 AM

[quote]you can’t help thinking the show is moving away from your character, because it’s unusual not to use regulars (that is starting to change as some shows are signaling that regulars won’t have the episode guarantees they used to have)

I can certainly understand this fear a lot more for actors in shows with a small regular cast like "Seinfeld" (which only had 4 people); however, for shows with large ensemble casts, isn't it more common? I can remember when "Fame" was on back in the '80s, they did not feature every cast member in every episode each week (there were like 14 principal actors). Each episode only featured a few of the regulars and even some of them would only have one scene in the episode.

by Anonymousreply 58May 30, 2024 6:26 AM

Jason may have thought the Florida episode may have been a sign that they were trying to turn the show into some kind of Jerry/Elaine will they/won't they thing and got nervous that the focus was going to shift. Actors are not immune to the same kind of insecurities that others are in their jobs.

by Anonymousreply 59May 30, 2024 2:21 PM
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