Friday, April 13, 2007

That Seinfeld Episode I Did

Larry David, me and Jerry on the Seinfeld set

I just saw on that the next airing of the episode where I got the last chocolate babka is on Tuesday, April 17th on TBS at 6:30 pm. I have no idea what time zone that's in.

I thought I would give you some detes on that shoot back in 1994, when I still had all my teeth and was not wearing Depends and a hearing aid.

That is my own coat, pants and turtleneck sweater in the picture, which was taken at the end of the shoot and was what I wore on the show. My friend Henriette Mantel, who co-directed the Ralph Nader documentary and who is currently in Paris directing another doc, had just shot the Brady Bunch movie and we were shopping at The Gap. I decided to buy this black turtleneck and when we got to the cash register, she took it out of my hands and said, "This is on me." It lives on forever in this episode.

I brought two coats to the shoot, as wardrobe asks you to bring in your own clothes if you're not the star or co-star or even the almost-star or going-to-be-sometime-in-my-next-lifetime star. I brought in the above coat, which was a Kenzo, since my mother worked for Kenzo in Paris at the time and I had a lot of his clothes. Mom had also given me a Jean-Louis fake leopard fur which was gorgeous and what I really wanted to wear but the show opted for the more sedate Kenzo. I borrowed the scarf from a friend of mine and thin belts were in.

The picture was taken by Carol Leifer, one of the writers on Seinfeld. She was the comic at the Richard Jeni memorial that said she liked comics just a little bit better than other people. She starred in her own sitcom, Alright, Already and is now a permanent staff writer for the Oscars. I emailed her a few weeks ago and said that I regretted having her take this picture as I wish I'd put her in the shot and had someone else shoot it of the four of us.

The guy who plays my husband was not exactly the kind of guy I've ever dated in my life. Ever. He came up to me and introduced himself and said, "I'm playing your husband in this scene." I looked at him and almost said, "Yeah, right" until I realized he was serious. I thought THIS is who they think I would marry? He was overweight and balding and well, just How could Larry David, the Executive Producer and a friend of mine, have cast this guy as my husband? Did Larry think that's all I could get?

Meanwhile, the cast fluttered around him and kept saying, "Oh I LOVE your work" and it wasn't until halfway through the shoot that the person playing the bakery counter lady told me that my so not hot husband had played the part of the grown-up bratty kid who traveled on the bus in A League of Their Own. His only scene was at the end of the movie, in the Hall of Fame ceremony. He had one scene people, calm down. And I would never have married him in real life unless he had a really good agent who would represent me as well.

A lot of people asked me if I was nervous to be on Seinfeld and I said that I had been preparing for a day like that my entire life. I felt like I belonged on that sound stage. I guess my subconscious was in agreement because I left behind my friend's scarf, my Henriette turtleneck and my Kenzo coat. The next day I got a call from the wardrobe department saying I was retarded. I mean forgetful. It was like when Elvis, a guy who I was madly in love with, came to visit me from out of state for 24 hours and left his toothbrush in my bathroom, or like the girl who accidentally leaves her thong and a shoe at a guy's place. They don't want to leave.

So the day I made an appointment to retrieve my things was January 17. At 4:19 a.m. on that day I woke up to go to the bathroom. The only reason I know it was 4:19 was because I was so sleepy I had to sit on the side of the bed and get my leg game going before I could stand up, and in the course of that time I glanced at the clock. I finally walked the round-trip twenty feet and came back to bed, happy to hit the sheets again. But at 4:29 a.m. I heard a tremendous roar and my apartment started to shake violently. I climbed out of bed, now fully fucking awake thank you very much, and tried to walk. The floor was pitching so violently that like a flying Wallenda I had to navigate it as if it were the high wire. I heard all the car alarms in three counties go off. My. First. Earthquake.

A 6.7 on the Andy Richter.

No phones, no lights and because of an hysterical lesbian in my building, no gas, as she panicked and made the manager turn off the main valve. I went out on the balcony and every resident was already outside with flashlights. They kept shining them in my face and asking me if I was okay. DO I LOOK OKAY? I wanted to scream but I couldn't talk. A woman from two apartments down walked towards me and told me I should put on some shoes. I had managed to find my Victoria's Secret satin pjs, which was a miracle in itself since I sleep in the nude and have no idea where I found those pajamas. Yes I know that was too much information but you'll live. My neighbor asked me if I had a flashlight and I looked at her and wondered why her mouth was moving and yet I couldn't hear her. The earthquake had first made me lose my voice and now I was deaf.

"SHOES, where are your shoes?"
"I don't know," I said, each word shaking like a Chihuahua. Apparently I can remember not to go outside naked but can't remember where I keep my shoes.
"In your closet maybe?"
"Oh my God, in my CLOSET! You're a genius."

You know that if I can't remember where my shoes are, the apocalypse is here.

The next day, when electricity had been restored, I heard that the Seinfeld stage had taken a hit and suffered water damage. It was such a famous show at the time that it was singled out for earthquake damage coverage. I sat in my apartment and pictured my clothes going down with the ship.

End of temblor chat.


  1. What a funny post. Sorry about your coat though.
    I love Seinfeld. Almost everyday something happens in my life that I think would have made a funny episode. Or else something happens that makes me remember an episode.
    The other day I was about to order deli, no one was around so I didn't take a ticket. Suddenly an old lady came and took a ticket and went ahead of me, even though she clearly saw me. Then I thought, well I could always jump her in the parking lot and steal her deli. See, two episodes in one grocery shopping trip.
    I miss that show. Thank goodness for reruns.

  2. surcie8:00 PM

    Loving the "detes," Suzy. And I'm setting the TiVo!

  3. Got the 29 inch plasma all cleaned up and the invitations sent out to friends, to be here to see my famous friend from Holliwood on Seinfeld.

    Going to be bigger than the Super Bowl.


  4. Finally... my chance to see you in action! :-)

  5. I'm copying Dave from Blogography's way of answering comments.

    gm country mama: My clothes were safe. I retrieved them later on.

    surcie: God bless TiVo.

    infantry dad: I'm not famous. Yet.

    dave2: Here's the action, I play the bitch.

  6. Funny - I'd never tried babka before that show.

    Seinfeld has so many memorable catch phrases I still use to this day.

    When I found out I was going to event where Wayne Knight would be -all I could think of was "Newman!".

    P.S. Curious what your comments are about Carlos Mencia.

  7. i've been reading you for a while...SO interesting! :) thanks for sharing...hope you eventually found your shoes! :)

  8. I just saw your Seinfeld episode a few weeks ago, saying out loud (to the cat), "Hey, I know her!"

    Your earthquake story was funny. We don't have those in Florida, but the hurricanes give us plenty of fun! Better yet, since they give ample warning, we know to have pajamas (or something) handy -- just in case.


  9. You know when I watched the original airing, and caught the re broadcast and took the 3 weeks required to download the episode. I thought to myself. What dickwad paired her up with that oof? I convinced myself that you were carpooling with him to the party and not actually supposed to be married to him. I also loved your entire outfit which probably pissed off Elaine because not only did you get a number, you got the freak chocolate hairless bobka and looked fantastic doing it. About the earthquake thing. Screw that. I mean sure we don't have things like education or dentists but at least with hurricanes you have about a week to find your pj's and shoes and get the hell out of here.

  10. Oh I can't miss this episode - I'm sure I've seen it before, but now I can say... "I KNOW HER! SHE FOLLOWS ME ON TWITTER!" :) You're a legend!