Jerry Seinfeld claims he never once gave Jerry Stiller direction regarding his character, Frank Costanza, on the notorious television show, Seinfeld. The Hollywood Reporter picked up on comments from the legendary comedian in which he told the story of how he and Jerry worked together.
This Thursday, Seinfeld stopped by the set of What a Joke With Papa and Fortune on Netflix is a Joke Radio, aired by SiriusXM. As it was previously reported, Jerry passed away at the age of 92 this past Monday. He was the father of Ben Stiller.
According to Jerry, Stiller had a natural talent for comedy and oftentimes, he and the other producers didn’t want to disturb his method in any way because it was so frequently on point, to the extent where Jerry didn’t need any notes or modifications.
Seinfeld clarified that they never once gave Stiller a note, and never modified his performance. Whatever Stiller chose to do is what they wound up with at the end of the day. Larry David, Seinfeld‘s co-creator, wanted Stiller to star as Costanza, but at the time, Jerry was working on a Broadway play and had never heard of Seinfeld.
Initially, a different actor took on the role but he apparently didn’t have the right vibe and energy for it. David later took it upon himself to ask Jerry once again and he accepted. During the same interview, Jerry explained how Stiller worked.
The comedian claims that he was a real “live wire” when the cameras started rolling and everyone got out of his way. To this day, Seinfeld explained, he didn’t understand why Jerry chose to do things the way that he did.
Reportedly, David initially wanted Frank to be a more calm and subdued character, but Stiller chose to take it another direction and it wound up being a lot better. For that reason, they stuck with it. Seinfeld claims he’s a strong believer in letting things be funny if they’re comedic.
Explained in another way, whether or not the line was planned, Jerry believes it’s best not to touch something if it’s funny. It’s best to leave it as it is.