Jerry Seinfeld is remembering the late Jerry Stiller, who passed away Monday at age 92.
On Thursday’s edition of “What a Joke with Papa & Fortune” on SiriusXM’s “Netflix Is a Joke” Radio, Seinfeld shared his memories of the late actor and comedian who played Frank Costanza on “Seinfeld”.
Seinfeld credits writer Larry Charles for bringing Stiller to the show when they were casting for the role of the father of George Costanza (Jason Alexander).
“And he kept saying, Jerry Stiller, Jerry Stiller. I remember Stiller and Meara from the ’60s, but I hadn’t seen Jerry in a while and I just didn’t — and I thought, well, but he’s not bald,” Seinfeld said, feeling that both Costanza men should be follicly challenged.
“But Larry just kept mentioning him and finally we brought him in,” Seinfeld said.
Once Stiller honed in on his portrayal, Seinfeld realized he was “so perfect” for the role.
“Those packages of just Jerry Stiller bits on my show are so unbelievably funny. What I loved about him is he so completes the George story. When you meet the father, you go, ‘Oh, now I understand why he’s like that,'” Seinfeld explained.
“It was the perfect finishing of the painting of George Costanza was Frank Costanza. He had the most amazing comedic stuff,” Seinfeld added.
In fact, Seinfeld revealed that Stiller was given free reign to put his own unique spin on the character, which yielded amazing results since “we didn’t know if he was planning it or it just came out that way, or he couldn’t remember the line, or we didn’t know what it was,” and he “did not want to disturb it in any way.”
Said Seinfeld: “We never gave Jerry Stiller a note. I never adjusted his performance once. Whatever he did, that’s it. We’re putting that out there. I don’t know why he did it like that. I don’t know why he screamed on that line. It doesn’t matter. It’s funny. So funny. I am such a dedicated believer in, if it’s funny, don’t touch it. I don’t care why it’s funny. I don’t care what the line was supposed to be. He said it that way, we’re doing it that way.”