The Five Worst Actors on ‘Seinfeld’ (Not Including Jerry)
These pretzels are making me thirsty.
Contrary to popular belief, Seinfeld isn’t a show about nothing, it’s a show about how humor can be found in the most mundane circumstances and by the most mundane people. Outside of the core cast of wackjobs, it takes very little to be a successful Seinfeld side-character — all you need to do is take on a physical or behavioral quirk, like a big nose or a weird laugh, and be able to successfully pretend that George Costanza is a desirable dating partner. It’s really that easy.
However, through nine seasons and 180 timeless episodes, it’s inevitable that a few actors will fail at the simple task of letting George, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer make fun of them behind their backs. This list is for those fine artists who missed the mark during their time on TV’s biggest show — not including Jerry himself.
Uncredited as Fire Truck Driver
“I… drive… the back… of the truck,” he utters after an awkward and unconvincing pratfall. Though this man had only one line in his lone appearance in the Season Seven episode “The Secret Code,” his delivery is so memorably manufactured that it lands in the first spot of the list. This presumably amateur actor was not helped by the editing that made Kramer’s descent down the pole of the fire station look like a schlocky action movie from the 1970s, but instead of sounding concussed after Michael Richards lands on his head, this actor ends up sounding vaguely drunk — so maybe Kramer should be driving the back of the truck after all.
Anthony Starke as Jimmy
In the aptly titled episode “The Jimmy,” viewers suffered through Starke’s performance as the one-note, egotistical and third-person-speaking Jimmy. The novelty of some cocky jock with a fancy pair of shoes always referring to himself by his Christian name wears off quickly, and the painfully arrhythmic patter between him and his new business partner George fails to make for a compelling A-story. At least Jimmy socked Kramer in the face and gave us one of the funniest you-couldn’t-do-that-today Seinfeld moments when he’s mistaken for a mentally challenged adult by Mel Tormé.
Heidi Swedberg as Susan Ross
The tales of the Seinfeld crew’s displeasure with Swedberg’s performance are the stuff of myth — Jason Alexander has claimed that his character George’s fiancee was killed off in a jarring and untimely manner due to the main cast’s complete inability to play off of Swedberg. Susan’s scenes are choked with dead air as the chemistry (or lack thereof) between Swedberg and her scene partners is as dusty and deadly as those poisoned envelopes.
Rob Schneider as Bob Grossberg
No one has ever asked the question, “What if Rob Schneider was a deaf pervert,” but Seinfeld gave us an answer in the Season Seven episode “The Friar’s Club.” Schneider’s one-off performance as Bob, Elaine’s handsy co-worker whom she suspects of pretending to be deaf, wasn’t just creepy and vaguely ableist — it was boring, which is the worst of the three.
Kathy Griffin as Sally Weaver
This entry should come as no surprise — D-list comedian Kathy Griffin’s appearance in episodes “The Doll” and “The Cartoon” is widely considered to be the most disruptive and grating of any guest star. To be fair to Griffin, the writers of the respective episodes deserve equal blame for the atrocity that is Sally Weaver, and it’s hard to imagine an actress attempting the role and not ending up as an annoying and unfunny distraction.
However, none of that changes the fact that Griffin’s performance as aspiring actress and comedian Sally Weaver was the worst one we saw in all 180 episodes.