Jon Hamm Was Wary of Bringing Back Don Draper for Jerry Seinfeld

Hamm didn’t want to ruin his ‘Mad Men’ legacy. Did he?
Jon Hamm Was Wary of Bringing Back Don Draper for Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld’s Unfrosted is as much about its cameos as it is about Kellogg’s iconic breakfast pastry. Who needs punchlines when you can create a litany of “Hey, that’s Comedian XYZ!” moments. Bill Burr, Mikey Day, Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett, Patrick Warburton, Cedric the Entertainer, Sebastian Maniscalco, Earthquake, Jack McBrayer — that’s hardly scratching the surface of the “blink or you’ll miss ‘em” moments provided by Seinfeld’s directorial debut. 

You can catch several of the cameos in the movie’s trailer, but one in particular was kept a secret — the pitch from a couple of mad men at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. But Jon Hamm, a guy who is normally game for any comedy from Saturday Night Live to Between Two Ferns: The Moviewasn’t sure bringing back Don Draper to pitch Pop-Tarts was a good idea. “I was of two minds,” Hamm told The Hollywood Reporter. “I told Jerry, ‘I don’t enter into this lightly. I’m not trying to be too precious about this, but I don’t want to devalue it.’” 

Hamm simply didn’t get it, according to Seinfeld. “He goes, ‘I understand that, but this would be very funny.’” 

Would it? Hamm wasn’t sure. Could he ruin the legacy of his Emmy Award-winning character with a lame cameo? If so, you can blame Hamm’s Mad Men running mate, John Slattery. “I called Slattery and said, ‘If you don’t do it, I won’t do it, but it could be really funny.’ He goes, ‘Why wouldn’t we do it?’”

Apparently, Slattery didn’t consider “Because it might be stupid” as an answer. 

Hamm said it was weird slipping into Draper gear again after all these years. “I look at pictures now and God, I’m, like, 20 pounds heavier, 10 years older, and it’s just like, yuck,” he explained. “But it was literally like putting on a very familiar, very comfortable suit. You’re just like, ‘Oh shit, I can do this.’”

But again, should he have? Liam Gaughan, a TV writer at Collider, was downright insulted. “The appearance of Don and Roger in Unfrosted trivializes the end of Mad Men,” he groused. “What’s disappointing is that in the years since Mad Men has been off the air, both Hamm and Slattery have made a conscious effort to do something different with their careers by taking on more experimental projects. Hamm and Slattery certainly could have added something to Unfrosted had they been given the chance to flex their comedic muscles, but Seinfeld opts to let them coast on their past success.”

Did Hamm devalue Don Draper? Probably not. For that to happen, audiences would have to remember the cameo existed in the first place. Fortunately, the unremarkable, unnecessary Unfrosted is already fading in our collective memory. An unopened Pop-Tart stays good for six to twelve months — Seinfeld’s comedy promises to be off the cultural shelf long before then.


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