Most TV viewers know that before Larry David created his comic hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, he co-created Seinfeld with Jerry Seinfeld. The show had an impressive run. It dominated comedy in the 1990’s and has a special place in TV history. A great deal of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer’s highjinx will live on forever. Part of what I find so amazing about it as I watch it in syndication is the supporting cast. There are a surprising number of notable actors who pop up as extras on the show, most before anyone knew who they were. Here are twelve.
The episode: The Frogger
Right around the time that Stormare was becoming Hollywood’s Official Evil Blonde Foreign Guy™ in the 90’s, he showed up on an episode of Seinfeld. He was “Slippery Pete”, Kramer’s electrician acquaintance who George trusts to help him preserve his high score on Frogger.
The episode: The Letter
Keener appeared in a very early episode as one of Jerry’s never-ending stream of girlfriends. She was “Nina the Artist”. She was responsible for creating the highly memorable portrait of Kramer.
The episode: The Pilot (Part 1 and 2)
Piven was Michael Barth, the actor who auditioned for the part of George on Jerry’s proposed NBC sitcom. He nails the loser aspects of George’s personality- so much so that George can’t stand him.
The episode: The Implant; The Pilot (Part 1 and 2); The Finale
Hatcher’s appearance was the most momentous on this list. She was Jerry’s girlfriend who may or may not have had breast implants. This led Jerry and Elaine to hatch a nefarious, side-splitting plot to find out the truth. As it turned out, they were real. And they were spectacular.
The episode: The Labelmaker; The Jimmy; The Yada Yada; The Mom and Pop Store; The Strike
Cranston has proven himself to be one of the very best actors on television with his incredible performance as Walter White in Breaking Bad. Back in the 90’s, he had a fantastic part-time role as Dr. Tim Whatley, the dentist. Speaking of Breaking Bad…
The episode: The Glasses
Walter White’s wife on Breaking Bad, Skylar, is played by Anna Gunn. She took her turn on Seinfeld as- what else?- one of Jerry’s girlfriends. George believes that he caught her kissing Jerry’s cousin, although the information is suspect because he wasn’t wearing his glasses at the time. And while we’re still talking about Breaking Bad…
The episode: The Abstinence
Odenkirk is currently known for his role on Breaking Bad as Saul Goodman. He showed up on Seinfeld as Elaine’s boyfriend, Ben, in the episode in which Elaine gives up sex. He was almost a doctor. Almost.
The episode: The Invitations
Root is best known for his roles in Mike Judge movies, especially as Milton in Office Space, as well as several bit parts in Coen brother films. On Seinfeld, he played the bank manager who denied Kramer’s protest that “hey” is not the same as “hello”.
The episode: The Fire
George attends a child’s birthday party and encounters “Eric”, a clown. He asserts that it’s a horrible clown name and is nonplussed that “Eric” doesn’t know who Bozo the Clown was. “Eric” was Jon Favreau.
The episode: The Couch
Blink and you’ll miss him. Oswalt appeared very briefly as a video store clerk.
The episode: The Money
Silverman had the role of Emily, Kramer’s girlfriend whose “jimmy legs” keep him awake at night. Ultimately, they wind up sleeping in different beds.
The episode: far too many (40 total) to list
Believe it or not, Larry David appeared on Seinfeld a lot, but almost always subtly. For instance, he was the voice of George Steinbrenner, whose face is never shown. He pops up as an extra among a mob outside of Kramer’s door. He shows up as a man on the street wearing George’s cape. My favorite Larry David appearance was as a rambling actor in a sci-fi B movie yelling about “the flaming globes”. Here he is as a newsstand clerk.