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Watch Jerry Stiller Make Jason Alexander Laugh in Seinfeld ‘You Want a Piece of Me’ Outtake
For decades, Jerry Stiller made us laugh, first alongside his wife, Anne Meara, in their 1960s double act Stiller and Meara, and later as loudmouthed sitcom dads on Seinfeld and The King of Queens. But Stiller didn’t just cut up audiences—he also got laughs out of his famous co-stars.
In the wake of the much-beloved actor’s death at age 92, one particular Seinfeld outtake quickly went viral. The scene is from the show’s eighth season episode “The Little Kicks,” which is probably best known for introducing the Elaine dance to the world. In that episode, Jerry, Kramer, and George become embroiled in a movie bootlegging scheme, and George is arrested. When his father, Frank, played by Stiller, arrives at the police station to bail him out, he blames Elaine for George’s arrest, noting that his son “isn’t clever enough to hatch a scheme like this.” Elaine and Frank fight, but filming the scene wasn’t exactly seamless because Stiller kept cracking up his costars—and at one point had Jason Alexander literally rolling on the floor.
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In 2005, Stiller spoke to Esquire about the creation of the Frank Costanza character. The original actor who played George’s father had been fired, and Stiller stepped in to replace him. “The part called for me to wear a bald wig to look like George and to act very meek. But after a couple of days I realized that acting meek was going to get me fired just like the last guy,” said Stiller. “On the fourth day, I said to Larry David, ‘This ain’t workin. Can I do it my way?'”
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.