How Larry David Turned His Pain into Classic Comedy on ‘Seinfeld’
If you’re a fervent fan of the classic sitcom, Seinfeld, you can probably quote all the familiar lines from the show. . . “vegetable lasagna,” “she’s a low-talker,” “yada yada yada,” and so many more.
One of the show’s writers, Larry David, shared recently how he used his personal pain and transformed it into pure comedy gold.
David turned his New York Yankees grief into classic comedy
Larry David, a lifelong New York Yankees fan, turned his pain from watching his beloved team in the 1980s lose time and time again, into comedy treasure, as he explained to the New York Post last week.
David wrote storylines featuring quirky Seinfeld character Kramer’s frustration with the Yankees, his attending a Yankees baseball fantasy camp, and then the character based on David himself, George Costanza, becoming employed by the Bronx Bombers. These were all plotlines, unforgettably genius ones at that, that David employed almost as a form of therapy, to work out his Yankees pain.
Costanza’s “interview” with the pretend George Steinbrenner in the final episode of season 5, “The Opposite,” is practically David ranting through Costanza, his alter ego. It’s what many Yankees fans wish they could have told the late ball club owner.
“Well, I wish I could say the same, but I must say, with all due respect,” George Costanza says to Steinbrenner in the episode’s script, “I find it very hard to see the logic behind some of the moves you have made with this fine organization. In the past 20 years, you have caused myself and the city of New York a good deal of distress, as we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduce them to a laughingstock all for the glorification of your massive ego.”
Naturally, Costanza aces the interview, thanks to his following the opposite of what he would normally do, and becomes part of the Yankees organization.
Jerry Seinfeld is a lifelong Mets fan
In the first season or two of Seinfeld, it was the New York Mets that were mentioned more on the show, along with strategic placing of a Mets cap here, and a Mets pennant banner there.
A Mets fan all his life, Jerry Seinfeld got his wish to have one of the team’s most prominent players, Keith Hernandez, appear in an episode titled “The Boyfriend.” The show’s star discussed his memories on the “Seinfeld: The Complete Series” DVD set of how speechless he became meeting one of his idols.
“. . . I remember the morning that [Hernandez] was going to be on the show, standing in my closet, looking at my shirts and going, “What should I wear? I’m going to meet Keith Hernandez; what should I wear?” And I actually even remember feeling sweaty as I was driving to work. That I was going to meet Keith Hernandez and how exciting this was going to be.”
How Larry David trained himself to imitate Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s voice
One of the funniest aspects of the Yankees bits on the show was Larry David taking on the voice of George Steinbrenner during Costanza’s employment with the team.
“I don’t know the man,” David told The New York Times in 1996, “but from seeing him interviewed on television and seeing his quotes in newspaper stories, I came up with this version of the way he speaks, the going on and on on subjects, and going from one topic to another almost without stopping for a breath.”
It all made for comedic brilliance that, over the past twenty-plus years, has stood the test of time, no matter who you’re rooting for in baseball.