Why didn't Larry David play George Costanza?

I was watching the “Pitch” episode last night and I started wondering this question.

David was not only the co-creator and the rough basis for George, he was as much an actor and performer as Seinfeld.

Though he didn’t have Jerry’s level of fame and success, he HAD been a sketch performer on Fridays (along with Michael Richards) as well as a moderate well-known stand up comedian.

I am glad it went to Jason Alexander (who played the part so well, he will have trouble gaining as much work as the talented man deserves), but I wonder was it ever discussed whether David would play it (ironic that both men have first names as last names).

Do you think NBC said we can’t have TWO bad actors on the show?

He would have made a good George…and if you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, I think it was even implied that George was totally based on his life.

I read somewhere that, despite him now starring in his own, very funny show, at that time (Seinfeld beginning) he was reluctant to be on camera as he goes through moods where he doesn’t want to perform before an audience and that would probably not be good for a major character on weekly sitcom.

And my memory is a little foggy, but I think the fact that Larry David decided to quit writing Seinfeld was the kiss of death for the show…I am sure someone reading this remembers more of exactly what happened.

He eventually did act in Seinfeld but we only saw him from behind. That’s Larry playing Mr. Steinbrenner.


Larry David generally appeared as a voice actor in most of his roles on “Seinfeld”. But he did appear on camera a few times. Most notably, as Frank Costanza’s lawyer (in the cape) talking Maureen down off the roof.

Larry David can’t act, can’t write, etc. It’s a blessing he wasn’t cast as George. Jerry made a big deal in the early days about how the other 3 were actors and he wasn’t. In particular, he noted how they changed their personalities completely when they walked off the set, he didn’t. Having two starring non-actors would have been bad. (And Emmys don’t mean squat. Just look at “Frasier”.)

Well, nothing was the kiss of death for the show, which got higher ratings year after year. But IMO, it was a lot worse after Larry David left. And George’s character was ruined - before he had been a guy who comes across as a jerk sometimes because he’s put upon and doesn’t know how to handle things well. After Larry David left, George really was a jerk.

That’s news to me, and millions and millions of fans of Seinfeld. You do realize that he wrote many of the “classic” episodes himself, and played a big hand in the writing of all of the others, up until he quit.

I’m not sure he’s a very good actor (though his comic timing is incredible), but he certainly is and was an exceptionally gifted writer.

It would have been funny, but I think the character would have been more mean-spirited and less likeable than Alexander’s.

Yeah, I find Larry’s character on Curb to be kind of the Evil George. Despite his shenanigans, sometimes he’s just a dick.

Still funny, though.

I read a profile of Larry David in The New Yorker some time ago, and I think that’s part of the reason. The writer notes that David was never very successful as a standup comedian either because even though his stuff was funny, he didn’t know how to make an audience like him (or he wasn’t interested in doing so). Same reason he didn’t act, I think. And David is quoted saying basically the same thing- Jerry Seinfeld was somewhat boyish and charming, so it made sense to use him in front of the camera.

David was also the original Newman.

The first mention of Newman was when he was trying to kill himself to keep Kramer’s attention. Newman never appeared on camera that episode.

When Wayne Knight took on the role of Newman, he redid Newman’s lines for that episode for syndication.

I don’t really care much for Larry David, but he would have been 100% better as George than Jason Alexander.

As a matter of fact, a hatrack would have done a better job. Alexander has the remarkable talent of ruining anything he has a part in.

That’s certainly news to the Broadway community, where Alexander won a deserved Tony for “Starting Here, Starting Now.” He was also fantastic in “Forbidden Broadway,” where you have to sing, dance, and do parody.

He was good in the McDonald’s commercial he did too. :wink:

I like Jason Alexander, wish he had better film opportunities.

Did he kill your dog?