Jason Alexander Mock-Threatened Patton Oswalt During ‘Seinfeld’ Acting Debut

‘He knew exactly what I needed as a comedian’
Jason Alexander Mock-Threatened Patton Oswalt During ‘Seinfeld’ Acting Debut

Like stand-up comedy where every single thing is funny and doesn't waste your time? Follow Cracked Comedy Club on Instagram and YouTube for exactly that. 

Stand-up comic Patton Oswalt found a second career in acting, landing popular roles on King of Queens and The Goldbergs while becoming a kids’ favorite when he voiced the culinary rodent Ratatouille. But his first-ever part, the one that earned Oswalt his SAG-AFTRA card, was a small role in a little sitcom called Seinfeld

In the Seinfeld scene, Oswalt plays a clerk at Champagne Video. George wants to rent Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Patton has to inform him that the video has been checked out. He offers to put the video on reserve, but that’s not good enough for George — he wants Patton to call the other renter and ask them to bring the video back. “I’m sorry,” the comic patiently replies. “It doesn’t work that way.” Oswalt’s clerk then goes to help another customer, giving George the chance to steal a glimpse at the store computer to discover who has his movie.

Oswalt’s part is simple enough, but his performance, now thirty years in the past, was fraught with anxiety. “What’s happening is I'm a bundle of nerves and I had one line - ‘I’m sorry, it doesn’t work that way,’” he told Stephen Colbert on last night’s Late Show. “I was sitting there just reading. I was enunciating every other word — ‘I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way.’”

It was more like three lines, but the point is that Oswalt was terrified. Luckily, the man who played George Costanza came to the rescue. “Jason Alexander could see how wound up I was,” Oswalt says, “and I kind of owe my career moving forward to Jason for this. He leaned forward right before they said ‘Action’ and he went, "It's not too late to be fired, Patton." 

What might have pushed some actors over the brink was just the comic kick in the pants that Oswalt needed. "It made me laugh so hard and cut the tension,” he says. “I will forever owe that guy. He knew exactly what I needed as a comedian.”


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?