Why ‘Seinfeld’ Ditched Jerry’s Standup Routine

by Josh Lanier

Episodes of Seinfeld opened with a few moments of stand-up comedy from Jerry Seinfeld for the show’s first seven seasons. The jokes would hit on that episode’s themes or topic to set the tone and kick off the laughs. But that stopped happening in Season 8 of the show without explanation.

When Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld pitched their idea for the show to NBC, they wanted to build it around Seinfeld’s stand-up. The show would be about his day-to-day life away from the mic but mirror his on-stage persona. They wanted to dive into the minutiae of everyday things much like Seinfeld did on stage, Larry David told Rolling Stone.

“We were in a grocery store and talking about the different products on the shelves, and we were making each other laugh,” he said. “Then we both realized that this is the kind of dialogue we never really heard on television, or even movies, for that matter.”

For the first seven seasons of Seinfeld, Larry David served as the showrunner. He ran the writers’ room and Jerry Seinfeld would write a few jokes for the cold open. Larry David constantly butted heads with his NBC bosses during this time. And after seven years, he’d had enough and left the show during its summer hiatus.

Jerry Seinfeld took over David’s duties, which made him showrunner, writer, and star. Seinfeld decided to scrap the stand-up routine so he could focus on working on the show’s scripts.

But his stand-up shtick did return for one more episode. “The Finale” opens with Seinfeld back on stage telling jokes to an unseen audience. David returned to the show for that episode to oversee the writing.

Larry David Is In More Episodes of ‘Seinfeld’ Than You Realized

Larry David is an A-list star today thanks to his time on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Most people will immediately clock his bald head with its ring of wild white hair. But before the fame, David spent most of his career behind the camera, making a few cameo appearances on Seinfeld as a treat to comedy nerds. And he made more than you probably remember.

Most notably, David played Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for several seasons of the show. They’d intended to hire an actor for that role, but David was so funny during the table reads that they decided to just use his voice and film a body double from behind. Though, they did reach out to the cantankerous Yankees owner to make a guest appearance on the show, but “he was so bad, you couldn’t use it,” David told Rich Eisen. David also played Frank Costanza’s lawyer who always wears a cape for an episode of the show.

Those are the easy ones, though. He also makes several blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos in some episodes and is a voice actor for many more. For one, he’s the man who yells out “Is anybody here a marine biologist” in that classic episode of the show.

In all, Larry David he appeared in 40 episodes of 180 episodes of Seinfeld. Check out his highlight reel below.