Why ‘Seinfeld’ Actor Patrick Warburton Avoided Jerry Seinfeld on the Set

Patrick Warburton can’t escape his alter-ego, David Puddy. The actor has a plethora of projects under his belt but fans remember him most from his 10-episode stint on the 1990s sitcom about “nothing,” Seinfeld. For three years, Warburton cozied up to some of the show’s stars but avoided Jerry Seinfeld.

Patrick Warburton doesn’t remember how he got the role of David Puddy on ‘Seinfeld’

Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Patrick Warburton as David Puddy | Joey Delvalle/NBCU Photo Bank

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For a show inspired by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s lives, casting side characters was no easy feat. The actors who played Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), George (Jason Alexander), and Kramer (Michael Richards) went the distance for all nine seasons, cementing Seinfeld in TV history.

However, some of the most memorable episodes featured cameos by the likes of Warburton as Elaine’s boyfriend, David Puddy. The actor revealed to Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) he doesn’t remember how he got the part. He thinks it had something to do with his initial one-off episode that, apparently, Seinfeld and David loved.

One aspect of Puddy’s life was his obsession with the New Jersey Devils hockey team. In the 1995 episode, “The Face Painter,” a paint-colored Puddy ripped open his shirt to reveal the letter “D” drawn on his chest in preparation for the game.

Warburton said he assumed his fondness of the Devils and connection to Seinfeld might die down, but it never has.

Seinfeld is such a pop culture thing and it’s perpetual syndication,” he told North Jersey.com. “It’s just unavoidable. As an actor, you go out and do other things and have fun but I would say I may never do anything as high-profile as Seinfeld again. You never know. But it’s mostly good.” 

The actor reprised the role in 2019 to raise money for St. Jude’s Hospital for Children. Still, Warburton remembers his time on the show, avoiding Seinfeld himself.

Warburton’s totally valid reasons for avoiding Jerry Seinfeld on the set

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Springfield, Missouri today. #alwaysworking

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Alexander stated in multiple interviews that the cast of Seinfeld maintained a working relationship but did not consider each other “friends” outside of that. For this reason, and others, Warburton avoided Seinfeld.

“The reason being I just didn’t want to stick my foot in my mouth or say something stupid,” he told News.com.au. “I wanted to hit my marks, I wanted to get the laughs and I wanted him to say, ‘I like that Puddy character, let’s bring him back.’”

From 1995-1998, the “Puddy” actor left Seinfeld to his own devices.

“As social and as generous as [Seinfeld] is and as good a guy as he is, I think he probably likes to not be bothered, so I didn’t want to ask any dumb questions…I just wanted to stay out of his way,” he said. “I haven’t seen him in years, but I miss him.”

Ironically, the two became real-life friends years later when both voiced the animated film, Bee Movie.

“Everybody in that [Seinfeld] cast, they were all so remarkably down to earth,” he said. “I’m still friends with Jason Alexander to this day.”

What does Warburton do now?

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Some git boxes. #phoenix

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Many know Warburton from Seinfeld, but the actor has a long list of IMDb credits that span back to 1986. For over 30 years, he’s voiced animated characters on Family Guy, The Emperor’s New School, and more. As an actor, Warburton can be found in dozens of projects like Rules of Engagement, Space Force, and recently, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Warburton knows that no matter what he does in the future, Seinfeld garners the most attention.

“I get a lot of compliments that I made such a big impact,” he told AJC.

He has three projects in production at the moment with — based on his work history — many more to come. Acting aside, the family man has four children and has been married to his wife, Cathy, since 1991 — long before his Puddy fame.