During the AMA, however, the veteran sitcom star offered “Seinfeld” fans many behind-the-scenes tidbits from the iconic series, including word that he and fellow “Seinfeld” creator Larry David have teamed on a new project.
“[Larry David and I] never obsess over anything that isn’t mundane,” Seinfeld said in one AMA response. “Most recent was intentional mumbling. We wrote this script for this thing that you will eventually see but I can’t reveal what it is at this time. All I can do is tell you is that it’s big, huge, gigantic. Even bigger than that Amazon package.”
Excerpts from Seinfeld’s AMA can be found below. Click here for the full Reddit session.
On the use of laugh tracks on “Seinfeld”:
“This was something we struggled with quite often on Seinfeld. Because we had real laughs on the scenes that were shot in front of an audience, but then we would shoot other scenes that were not in front of the audience (which didn’t have any laughs) and then it felt like a bit of a mismatch, so we tried to compromise and put in a subtle laugh track. I think that one of the fun things of a sitcom is feeling like you’re in an audience even though you’re home, watching it by yourself. I have to say I like some sitcoms with them and some without. Depends on the show.”
On meeting Larry David:
“The first time I met him, that’s a long story… I actually was eavesdropping on him talking to another comedian, and I wasn’t even in comedy yet. But he was leaning on my car in front of the Improv on 9th Ave and 44th Street, and this would be probably 1975. That was the first time I ever saw him. But we didn’t talk. But him and this other comedian were leaning on the fender of my car, and I knew that they were real comedians and I was still just flirting with it. So I don’t know if that answers the question.
Then when we finally did talk in the bar Catch a Rising Star on 1st Ave and 78th Street 2 or 3 years after that, we couldn’t stop talking. We were both obsessed with the smallest possible issue.”
On scrapped “Seinfeld” ideas:
“…There was one episode where Jerry bought a handgun. And we started making it and stopped in the middle and said ‘this doesn’t work.’ We did the read-through and then cancelled it. A lot of other stuff happened, but trying to make that funny ended up being no fun.”
On learning how to deal with stand-up hecklers:
“Very early on in my career, I hit upon this idea of being the Heckle Therapist. So that when people would say something nasty, I would immediately become very sympathetic to them and try to help them with their problem and try to work out what was upsetting them, and try to be very understanding with their anger. It opened up this whole fun avenue for me as a comedian, and no one had ever seen that before. Some of my comedian friends used to call me – what did they say? – that I would counsel the heckler instead of fighting them. Instead of fighting them, I would say “You seem so upset, and I know that’s not what you wanted to have happen tonight. Let’s talk about your problem” and the audience would find it funny and it would really discombobulate the heckler too, because I wouldn’t go against them, I would take their side.”
On modern-day Seinfeld Twitter handles:
“Oh this is a very painful subject. As you can probably imagine, over the 9 years of doing the show, Larry David and I sat through hundreds of ideas that people wanted to do on the show. And most of the ideas are not good. Which I saw Larry say the other day on some show, somebody asked him the same question and he said “I know you think it’s funny, but it’s really hard.” The ideas that Larry and I would respond to, I don’t even know, they just need to be very unique. It’s just a lot harder than it seems to come up with. And particularly for that show, where we tried to do things that were unusual, and you had to go through a lot of ideas to find the ones you like.”
His favorite “Seinfeld” episodes:
“…One was the The Rye, because we got to shoot that at Paramount Studios in LA which was the first time that we thought ‘wow this is almost like a real TV show.’ We hadn’t felt like a real TV show, the early years of the TV show were not successful. We had this idea of a Marble Rye and we had to shoot it in an outdoor set, and this was a very expensive thing to do, it’s like a movie place there at Paramount in LA. Their standing set for New York looks exactly like it, and we thought ‘this is where the ADULT shows are, the REAL shows like Murphy Brown.’ We felt like we were a weird little orphan show. So that was a big deal for us.
And that was very exciting, we were up all night shooting it on the set of Paramount and it was very exciting.
The other one that was really fun was in the episode The Pothole, Newman drives his mailtruck over a sewing machine and his mail truck burst into flames. It was really fun to shoot, and it was fun to set Newman on fire. And he screamed “oh the humanity” like from the Hindenberg disaster. It’s one of my favorites.”
What Seinfeld would do without comedy: