‘Seinfeld’: Larry David Framed George Constanza’s Iconic Plotline From His ‘SNL’ Experience

Most Seinfeld fans know who the basis for George Costanza was: series co-creator Larry David. While David and Jerry Seinfeld were the minds behind the show, they modeled one of its best characters after David and his many hilarious habits.

One of the ways they ensured George would have funny plot lines was by using things that had actually happened to David in the course of the show. While many of George’s plotlines based on David were hilarious, one is almost too funny to be true. It’s based on one of David’s experiences when he was a writer at Saturday Night Live

The Larry David-George Costanza connection

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Seinfeld was famously known as a show “about nothing,” though it really excelled in elevating the mundane to high comedy. The show, created by Seinfeld and David, followed a fictionalized version of Seinfeld as a comic in New York City. He was accompanied by his best friend George Costanza along with his ex Elaine Benes and neighbor Kramer. 

While all four of the main characters were able to shine in their own way, George stands out as probably the funniest and most iconic. That’s in large part due to the fact that George was based on David himself. Played by Jason Alexander, George was known for being increasingly neurotic as the show progressed. Many of George’s plot lines were taken directly from David’s life, making them all the more hilarious. 

Larry David before and after ‘Seinfeld’

Prior to Seinfeld, David had middling success as a New York comedian. He also wrote for several TV shows, including a couple of sketch comedy TV shows, one famous and one not-so-famous: Fridays and Saturday Night Live. David worked at SNL during the time period in which creator Lorne Michaels had left the show. NBC executive Dick Ebersol was running the show, and the two often clashed. This is where David first met Julia-Louis Dreyfus, who later played the part of Elaine. 

David exited Seinfeld following the seventh season. After the show, he wrote an unsuccessful film called Sour Grapes.

A few years later he debuted an HBO show called Curb Your Enthusiasm. The improvised show followed a fictionalized David as he assaulted social customs, often getting called out for his behavior. Alexander appears as a frequent guest-star, often lampooning what a “loser” character George was to David’s dismay.

In the show’s seventh season, David launches a Seinfeld reunion show, so he can cast his estranged wife in a part and get her back. After feuding with Alexander, he attempts to step in to play George, failing hilariously. 

Curb Your Enthusiasm really underlined just how much David was an essential part of George as a character. There was one George subplot on Seinfeld in particular that was ripped directly from David’s life. 

Larry David framed George Costanza’s iconic plot line from his ‘SNL’ experience

Jason Alexander as George Costanza on 'Seinfeld.'
Jason Alexander as George Costanza on ‘Seinfeld.’ | George Lange/NBCU Photo Bank

Seinfeld super fans will remember an early-season subplot in which George quits his job, telling off his boss in dramatic fashion. He then realizes the massive mistake he made and returns to the office the next business day, pretending nothing had happened. According to Thought Catalog, this was based on David’s experience working for Ebersol at SNL. David told Ebersol in no uncertain terms what he thought of him and stormed out of the office.

Realizing what a miscalculation this was for his career and his finances, David knew he couldn’t afford to lose the job. He returned to the office, pretending nothing had happened. David only lasted one season at SNL, but he’d later move on to greater pastures. By the end of the 80s, he and Seinfeld would create the greatest sitcom in TV history. He later returned to SNL as a host and had an extended run playing Bernie Sanders.