It’s hard to believe, but 30 years ago, a show about nothing quickly became a show that everyone talked about. When Seinfeld debuted on July 5, 1989, no one imagined that the NBC sitcom, created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld about friends living in Manhattan, would go on for nine seasons. It spanned 180 episodes and was nominated for a whopping 68 Emmys, winning 10.
However, the show’s inception was a bit different in the beginning. The group of four — Jerry Seinfeld’s Jerry, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine, Jason Alexander’s George and Michael Richards’ Kramer — was originally a trio. “The pilot actually only had three. There was going to be a cast of four and the woman was going to be a waitress, and when the series got picked up, we changed the waitress to Elaine,” David revealed to Rolling Stone in 2014.
As for the concept, David and Seinfeld came up with it while grocery shopping together, talking about the products on the shelves and realizing the conversation they were having was funny. “We both realized that this is the kind of dialogue we never really heard on television, or even movies, for that matter,” the Curb Your Enthusiasm star said. “So that was sort of the basis — that was just the way we communicated and the things that we talked about.”
The pair also wanted the stand-up routines — which began every episode — to be part of the show’s premise, to show how comedians source their material from their friends. In fact, the title was almost Seinfeld (How a Comedian Gets His Material).
Despite the title, the series had a tremendous impact on audiences and on the cast, which is, in part, due to their tremendous chemistry.
“It was great, right from the get-go. It was the perfect blend — all great actors, all really funny,” the comic shared. “And even the additions that we made — Newman [was] spectacular, both sets of parents. Everybody just fit in so well. It just really worked, which is an understatement.”
David also reflected on the show’s legacy. “I get comments a lot, people thanking me [laughs], I go, ‘You’re welcome.’ To be perfectly honest, I don’t really think about it, but if someone says something to me, it’s nice to hear,” he noted. “I guess it’s hard to imagine that it could have that effect on people, but I suppose it does. Because it doesn’t necessarily make me so happy, you know what I mean? So I’m wondering how it can make other people so happy, but I’ll take their word for it.”
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See where the cast is today in the gallery below.