‘Seinfeld’ Turns 30: Hear From Fan Favorite Guest Stars
It’s been 30 years since NBC’s Seinfeld hit the airwaves and added unforgettable colloquialisms to our everyday conversations such as “low talker,” “man hands,” “yada yada,” and “serenety now.” The legendary primetime comedy that starred Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards, also showcased some memorable guest characters throughout its nine seasons. Some of them recently spoke to Today.com about their experience on the landmark program.
Missing a vital undergarment
The character of Sue Ellen Mischke, played by actress Brenda Strong, was known as Elaine’s (played by Louis-Dreyfus) nemesis. What set her apart from other females on the show was her memorable nickname. Mischke spoke to Today.com about her trepidation on the moniker when she tried out for the part.
“I was a little nervous, because when the descriptor is ‘the braless wonder,’ it kind of sets you up for a certain expectation. So when I walked in the casting office and I did the scene, I said, ‘So tell me about Sue Ellen. Is this going to be tasteful?’ “ Strong told Today.com. “And Larry David said, ‘Oh yes, she is an heiress, she’s wealthy, she’s put together, she’s absolutely, like, an amazing woman.’ I said, ‘By the way, how tall is Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Does she come to about here?’ And I saw all the writers’ eyes light up, because they realized that her eyeline was going to be bra height. And that was the beginning.”
To this day, Strong said she still gets recognized for her turn on Seinfeld. “I’ve actually been walking down the street in New York City and had people on firetrucks yell out to me at full voice, ‘Sue Ellen.’ So it’s alive and well in people’s minds,” she said.
Elaine’s most memorable boyfriend
David Puddy, played by Patrick Warburton, will live in infamy as Elaine’s not-so-bright beau. Warburton, who appeared in 10 episodes of the series, talked about his character’s humorous lack of intelligence to Today.com. “Puddy was not the sharpest tool in the shed. I always wondered what Puddy and Elaine were doing together. Imagine the sex must have been amazing ’cause I don’t know what else he brings to the table,” Warburton said. “Just dumbness and absurdity. Elaine would always sit there, just mouth agape, and she would be the audience. And we would all vicariously through her eyes wonder what she was doing with this big stupid guy.”
Warburton was a fan of the cast, speaking very favorably of his fellow actors. “My wife and I would sit on Thursday nights and watch the show religiously,” he said. “My favorite character was always Kramer and I’d just wait to see what Michael (Richards) would do with that. He was remarkable, to me. He was as big as a circus clown, but real. You never questioned the authenticity — you believed that this Kramer was a guy. And he wasn’t like that in person. He just is a great actor with a really good work ethic. It was so much fun to watch. Julia was very, very sweet and gracious. I’d just pop in and they all made you feel at home.”
‘No soup for you!’
Who can forget the Soup Nazi? The frightening figure at the counter scooping broth made the famous Seinfeld four shake in their boots, but not enough that they could pass up the opportunity to purchase the delectable potpourri. According to Today.com, the character was based on Al Yeganeh, who ran Soup Kitchen International in New York City.
“My initial thought when I first heard the term ‘Soup Nazi’ — ’cause that’s all I knew before the audition — I just thought he was a very militant food vendor who didn’t take crap from anybody and ruled his soup station with an iron fist,” Larry Thomas, who played the iconic character, told Today.com.
Thomas remarked on how down-to-earth series co-creator and star Jerry Seinfeld was to everyone. “I’ve never worked with a director and producer who had less ego than Jerry Seinfeld,” he said. “I did the six scenes that the Soup Nazi has, and he laughed a lot. It was great. And then he had me do it again, and he said, ‘You know, I don’t understand why the character’s so mean. Could you do it again, and be a little nicer sometimes,’ which I did horribly. I don’t think he laughed once… I did get it, and as soon as I walked onto the soundstage, Jerry beelined over to me and he said, ‘You know what, man? Forget about the direction I gave you. Just do what you did when you walked in.’ And I was just astounded by his lack of wanting to be right, which almost every other director and producer has.”
The role for Thomas was life-changing. “Not a moment goes by in my life where it doesn’t have something to do with having been the Soup Nazi, really. An hour goes by and something happens where that takes over my life again. It’s a whole new existence,” he said.