Hey, is Jerry Seinfeld in a new flick about bees? I'm not sure, but I think I read something recently, or saw some promotion? Was that him flying over Cannes in a bug suit? Or didn't he turn an entire episode of 30 Rock into a commercial? I know he does those tv shorts in the middle of The Office, but I never watch to the end. I think I saw him in a computer commercial talking about the flick...and on Letterman...the Today Show...Happy Meals. Oh look, there's something buzzing around my tomato plants with a tiny 11/2 printed on its butt. I haven't looked up at the sun recently, but has someone painted black stripes across it. (you can have that one for free) I mean, if the guy can get 60 minutes to do a bee bit, he's got some juice. And can you blame him? I heard he's down to his last three trillion. Brother's gotta eat.
But here's the thing...I don't think it's fair that Jerry's getting all this attention, while the rest of the old Seinfeld cast is out there somewhere, not sharing any of the limelight. And I'm not talking about Elaine, George and Kramer. (Elaine has her Emmy, George is taping his next celebrity poker thing, and Kramer's starring in a buddy flick with imus.) I'm talking about the bit players. Where's Babu these days? Whatever happened to the Low Talker? Where the heck has the Soup Nazi been. These are the folks that made Seinfeld what it was, and why I still can't change the channel when someone says Bubble Boy. So what's everyone been up to?
Jackie Chiles, played by Phil Morris
O'Henry? That's one of our top-selling candy bars. It's got chocolate, peanuts, nougat, it's delicious, scrumptious, outstanding!
We'll start with one of my favorites. Jackie Chiles had a way with words, using his talents to defend Kramer when he was scalded by coffee, disfigured from smoking and distracted by a bra. The cases didn't go so well, but you may recall he ended up ok, being able to judge for himself that they were, indeed "real, and spectacular". Since then, Phil Morris has been all over the television dial, in everything from CSI to Smallville, with alot of voiceover work, as well. Here's the most interesting thing I found...the University of Utah Law School has a Jackie Chiles Law Society, which seeks to "analyze America’s view of the Law based on how popular culture portrays it". That's pretty spectacular, as well.
The Low Talker, played by Wendel Meldrum
She didn't say alot, but the low talker definitley made her mark in Seinfeld history. She was responsible for the puffy shirt...remember? That's the prop, along with the episode script, that represents Seinfeld in the Smithsonian. Since then Wendel Meldrum has still been acting, although not too many things I'm familar with. She does have a website, though. So you could contact her directly to see what's she up to now. How's your hearing?
The Drake, played by Rick Overton
Gotta love the Drake.
Remember The Drake? Everyone "loved the Drake", then "hated the Drake" when he broke up with the Drakette. Rick Overton has had quite a long career outside of Seinfeld. He's been a stand-up comic for as long as I can remember, and also had supporting roles in tv and movies ranging from Groundhog Day to Mrs. Doubtfire. Never quite made it over the hump into celebrity status, though. I added him mainly because he's the one character I've actually met, back from my days working at a New York talent agency right after college. I love the Drake.
Lt. Bookman, played by Philip Baker Hall
What's my problem? Punks like you, that's my problem. And you better not screw up again Seinfeld, because if you do, I'll be all over you like a pitbull on a poodle.
Another one of my favorites...Bookman, the library cop who channeled Joe Friday, was all over Seinfeld for returning a book that was 20 years overdue. In real life, Philip Baker Hall has been in dozens of films and tv series. The director, Paul Thomas Anderson liked his work so much he put him in three of his movies, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Throw in roles in Ghostbusters II, Say Anything, The Rock , The Truman Show, Bruce Almighty and many more, and you've got quite the career. His most recent work has been on the Fox series, The Loop. And my favorite role outside of Seinfeld was when he played the doctor who didn't want anyone to use his phone on the Larry David Show...big fan.
Man Hands, played by Kristin Bauer
Don't you just love lobster?
I don't know about you, but I might've let the hands thing slide...but I digress. Gillian loved Jerry, and lobster, and had a tight grasp on both. Outside of Seinfeld, Kristen Bauer has done alot of tv, most recently on Desperate Housewives, and the new show, Dirty Sexy Money. Still looks pretty good, too. But the man hands role isn't mentioned specifically on her Wikipedia page, which makes me wonder if she's tried to distance herself from it since then. Can you blame her?
Sue Ellen Mischke, played by Brenda Strong
I've just been hanging out.
The braless wonder...Elaine's Lex Luthor...any of this ringing a bell? Of course it is. Sue Ellen Mischke was in a few episodes, but none as memorable as when she takes Elaine's gag gift bra and wears it as a top. After Seinfeld, Brenda Strong had recurring roles in Star Trek, the Next Generation, Sports Night, 7th Heaven, Everwood, and she's the narrator on Desperate Housewives. Here's an interview where she discusses her recent role on Curb Your Enthusiasm (and when I say recent, I mean last week) And outside of acting, she's a certified yoga instructor, a fertility expert, and is working on a book on yoga. Also, here's one of those superfan sites about her...they always worry me.
Crazy Joe Davolla, played by Peter Crombie
I know what you said about me, Seinfeld. I know you badmouthed me to the execs at NBC, put the kibosh on my deal. Now I'm going to put the kibosh on you. You know I've kiboshed before, and I will kibosh again.
I have to admit, I don't really remember watching Crazy Joe Davolla (that's what YouTube is for) but I remember the name. And I remember Elaine dating his doctor. He was the crazy opera clown that was after Jerry. His real life alter ego, Peter Crombie, has done plenty of TV work, including Deep Space Nine, But his last role, according to IMDB, was Walker, Texas Ranger. Maybe he's gone full-time with the opera thing.
The Virgin, played by Jane Leeves
It must be prety good to put up with all that
I really don't need to tell you what Jane Leeves did after Seinfeld, right? She was Daphne on Frasier for ten years. It's the time since then that you might wonder about. And the real answer is...not much that I can find. Then again, with Seinfeld and Frasier royalty checks rolling in, does the lady really need to work? Some things I didn't know about Ms. Leeves include...she was a regular on the Benny Hill Show (didn't know that), was in the movie, To Live and Die in LA (haven't thought about that flick in years) and during the Frasier years, was the highest paid British actress in Hollywood (can that be right, Wikipedia?) Also, here's another one of those fan sites. And finally, check out the doo from her time on THROB. Just a couple days late for Halloween.
Mr. Peterman, played by John O'Hurley
I'm afraid it's your urine, Elaine. You've tested positive for opium...That's right. White Lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai Sally...The dark continent is no place for an addict, Elaine.
Here's another one I don't have to tell you about. But I just couldn't leave him off the list. Since Seinfeld, John O'Hurley has done his fair share of tv work (The Mullets?) But it's the reality tv work you probably know him for. First it was game shows like To Tell The Truth and Pyramid, then Dancing with the Stars and the finals controversy, and now he hosts Family Feud. Also, he was recently King Arthur in the Vegas version of Spamalot. He's like a bad cable tv legend, but we'll always remember Mr. Peterman.
Susan Biddle Ross, played by Heidi Swedberg
And you didn't expect to see me holding hands with a woman
She dated George, she dumped George, She went lesbian, she reunited with George, she was engaged to George, she died from licking wedding invitations. Susan had quite the run on Seinfeld, appearing n 27 episodes. And that's not counting her portrait after she kicked. Other than Seinfeld, Heidi Swedberg has had roles in many other tv series, including ER, Gilmore Girls and Deep Space Nine. What's with all the Seinfeld people in Star Trek land?
Poppy, played by Reni Santoni
Ah, Jerry! Tonight you in for a real treat. I'm personnaly going to prepare the dinner for you and my Audrey.
My first memory of Reni Santoni was when he played an Alaskan boxer who really wanted to be a cellist on The Odd Couple...man, he's been at this for a while. But who can forget Poppy, the angry, incontinent pizza chef. Recently, Mr. Santoni has had roles in a few tv shows, including CSI and Grey's Anatomy. He was also a radio exec in Howard Stern's Private Parts. That always sounds weird when you say it out loud.
The Maestro, played by Mark Metcalf
Oh I suppose it's O.K. for Leonard Burnstein to be called Maestro because he conducted the New York Philharmonic. So he gets to be called Maestro and I don't.
So, do you think Mark Metcalf will be remembered most for playing the Maestro, or Niedermeyer in Animal House, or maybe the dad in the Twisted Sister video. All great roles, but the Seinfeld gig allowed him the luxury of not wearing pants, so it's got that going for it. He also had a pretty well-known role after Seinfeld, although I never saw it. He played ancient supervillain, the Master (Maestro...Master...get it?) on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel. What's he up to today? Well, Mark and his ex-wife own a restaurant named Libby Montana in Mequon, Wisconsin, and he works at First Stage Children's Theater near Milwaukee. I peaceful existence for the guy that couldn't stand pledge pins on uniforms.
Kenny Bania, played by Steve Hytner
Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it round tine.
Bania is responsible for my favorite Seinfled quote of all time, and the one I use the most often. Of course, Im talking about...That's gold, Jerry. Gold. . And now you know why I don't have many friends. Anyway, Bania was the hack comic that shadowed Jerry, hoping to ride on his coattails. There was that great episode wear he gave Jerry a suit, in exchange for a meal. But soup and a sandwich didn't count as a meal. Man, that's go... (I told ya) Since Seinfeld, Steve Hytner has been on the Jeff Foxworthy Show and the Bill Engvall Show, in what appears to be a bid to corner the redneck tv market. He's also recently been on the USA show, Hustle, and the Jeff Goldblum show, Raines. I really liked that show. I hope it comes back.
Mickey Abbott, played by Danny Woodburn
Communism, You didn't realize Communism was a sensitive issue? What do you think has been going on in the world for the past 60 years? Wake up and smell the coffee.
Mickey was Kramer's sidekick for a while. Remember when they did the acting for the medical school, and they both wanted to play the part of the same disease. Man...good times. After Seinfeld, I remember him being in Jingle all the Way, and Death to Smoochy. (there was a winner) And lately, Danny Woodburn has been on the soap, Passions, a bunch of ads for the BK Stacker, he'll be in the horror flick Pear Blossom in 2008, and he recent;y hosted this guy's sketch comedy show. Who says Seinfeld doesn't lead to bigger, better things?
Babu Bhatt, played by Brian George
I am going to save up every rupee. For someday, I will get back to America, and when I do, I will exact vengeance on this man. I cannot forget it. He haunts me. He is a very bad man. Very, very bad man.
If we voted for a hand gesture most associated with one of the Seinfeld characters, we might have to give it to Babu, for his patented finger wag that accompanied the very, very bad man line. Tough to forget the only person Jerry personally got deported. Brian George played Babu brilliantly, right up to the series finale, where he gave us the finger one last time. After Seinfeld, there were a bunch of film and tv roles. And he did the Star Trek thing, just like half the people on this list, appearing on Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He's a very good actor...a very, very good actor.
The Soup Nazi, played by Larry Thomas
No soup for you!
You knew I was saving this for last, right? You start a conversation about Seinfeld characters, and who gets mentioned first every time...of course, the Soup Nazi. I don't know how many of these characters are based on real people (who knows, maybe all of them) but everyone knows the Manhattan soup man was the inspiration for the character, and Larry Thomas played him flawlessly. After Seinfeld, more TV roles followed, including General Hospital, CSI, Scrubs, and many more. This is funny...he seems to have the bad guy thing down, playing a Saddam lookalike on Arrested Development, and Osama Bin Laden in the upcoming flick Postal. Most people would be bummed about being typecast, but I get the feeling he's loving it. Who better to end with.
Now go away...no more list for you!