Jason Alexander Memorized George’s Famous Golf Ball Diatribe in Record Time

‘The sea was angry that day, my friends’
Jason Alexander Memorized George’s Famous Golf Ball Diatribe in Record Time

“The sea was angry that day, my friends.”

The day that George Costanza became a marine biologist, if only for a moment, is a Seinfeld classic. But as Jerry Seinfeld said on The Rich Eisen Show this week, it’s a scene that almost didn’t happen — because it wasn’t in the original script. 

The “Marine Biologist” episode is the one where Kramer is hitting golf balls on the beach while George pretends to be an ocean scientist to impress a woman. “I don’t know the schedule that week, but let’s say we’re shooting it on Wednesday. It’s Tuesday,” Seinfeld told Eisen. “We don’t have the golf ball goes into the blowhole of the whale. We don’t have it — it was never in the script.”

There was another problem — you’ve got Kramer driving Titleists and George making up facts about a beleaguered whale, but no one had figured out how to connect the two stories. “It was the night before we shot the scene with Jason in the coffee shop,” Seinfeld revealed. “I said to Larry, ‘Hey, what if what puts the whale in distress is Kramer’s golf ball?’”

Perfect. So the night before filming, at two in the morning, Seinfeld and Larry David write George’s speech, including the classic “The sea was angry that day” line. They showed up for production the next day and delivered the new script, which included an insanely long monologue, to Jason Alexander. Good thing he was “an effing genius.”

“We hand Jason that speech,” boggled Seinfeld. “How long is that speech? It’s a page, two pages!” And this, says Seinfeld, is why film actors suck (and maybe another reason he thinks the movie business is going down the tubes): “You walk up to a TV actor like Jason, and you hand him two and a half pages and I go, ‘We got to shoot this in a half hour. Memorize it.’ He goes, ‘No problem.’ That's TV. No preciousness.” 

That moment in the scene where the camera cuts to TV Jerry raising his eyebrows in apparent amazement at George’s story? He was reacting to something else. “I can’t believe he’s getting this speech word perfect, that is what I’m thinking,” Seinfeld told Eisen. “I’m not acting. I’m just watching Jason get the speech right in front of a live audience.”

In the crummy movie business, Seinfeld explained, an actor screws up the monologue and you just go again. “In TV, this live audience is going to hear this speech for the first time once,” he maintained. “So you want those juicy laughs when they’re hearing these jokes the first time. He’s getting it perfect. That is why I have that look on my face.” 


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