Seinfeld co-creator and star Jerry Seinfeld remembers late co-star Jerry Stiller, who the actor and comedian says was "perfect" in his performance as the hot-headed Frank Costanza. First portrayed by actor John Rudolph in Season 4 episode "The Handicap Spot," Stiller played the character from 1993 through 1998, first appearing in Season 5 episode "The Puffy Shirt" as the temperamental father of Jason Alexander's George Costanza. Best remembered as the creator of alternative holiday Festivus and the inventor of men's support garment the Manssiere with Michael Richards' Cosmo Kramer, Frank Costanza scored Stiller his only Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
"We never gave Jerry Stiller a note," Seinfeld said on SiriusXM's What A Joke with Papa and Fortune show. "I never adjusted his performance once. Whatever he did, that's it. We're putting that out there. I don't know why he did it like that, I don't know why he screamed on that line. It doesn't matter, it's funny. So funny."
Seinfeld continued, "I am such a dedicated believer in 'if it's funny, don't touch it.' I don't care why it's funny. I don't care what the line was supposed to be. He said it that way, we're doing it that way."
Following Stiller's death at the age of 92 earlier this week, Seinfeld shared a silent tribute to the comedian on his Twitter page by posing with an album, Ed Sullivan Presents the Last Two People in the World: Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, recorded by the married comedy duo in 1967.
Remembering Stiller from the Stiller and Meara comedy team, Seinfeld noted it was series writer-producer Larry Charles who suggested Stiller for the role of the re-imagined Frank Costanza. "Larry just kept mentioning him and finally we brought him in and he was so perfect," Seinfeld said.
Stiller was similarly remembered by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David as "one of the sweetest and kindest men I've ever known, not to mention one of the funniest." Speaking to Variety, David added, "I was blessed to be able to work with him."