Recently, Marc Maron hosted Jason Alexander on his WTF Podcast, and Alexander got the usual Maron treatment, by which I mean a total rundown of his career. Interestingly, little in the hour-long podcast was devoted to Seinfeld because while it is what Alexander is best known for, there has been a lot more going on in Alexander’s life both before and after the show.
Where it concerns Seinfeld, however, Alexander reiterated how much he loved the job. For Alexander, it was an easy gig for which he had little complaint. Unlike Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, he didn’t have to wear a lot of hats. He showed up five days a week (four in the later seasons), did his job, and he went home. “We were having fun! Nothing about it was hard. We weren’t out in the hot sun laying tar or anything,” Alexander told Maron. “It was a gift.”
Alexander said that the stress of Seinfeld fell primarily on the shoulders of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, and Alexander believes that it’s ultimately what led Larry David to depart the show after seven of the nine seasons:
“He always saw the doing of Seinfeld as a very stressful thing. If it broke, it was going to be he and Jerry that broke it, but I think he took on more of that responsibility,” Alexander told Maron. “We would finish every taping, and — he’s got a whole season arc laid out on some whiteboard somewhere — but we’d finish every taping and he’d go [in a Larry David voice], ‘It can’t be done again! That’s it! It can’t be done!” Like they had no idea for next week, but they had more than an idea. They had a draft. But he would feel pressure very acutely, and after seven years and the money he made, he thought he couldn’t do that anymore.”
Jerry Seinfeld, of course, had two more years in him. As they approached the ninth season, however, Jerry sat down with the rest of the cast and decided it was time to hang it up. “I’m sure Jerry tells the story the same way,” Alexander said. “But starting around season six at the Christmas break, the four of us would sit down and ask, ‘What do you think? Do we have more in us?'” In season eight, Alexander suggests they began to waffle, and in season nine, around Christmas, Jerry Seinfeld said, “I’m thinking we’re done.” No one objected.
Alexander does concede, however, that while the show “was a gift,” he did get a little “cranky” with it after Larry David left. “I felt like the best of George went with him … and the writing staff at that point — all unbelievably talented people who have gone on to huge careers — but, I felt like they didn’t quite understand George to the depths that Larry did. So, the stories were a little bit less interesting to me. But that may have just been the fatigue of doing the show for nine years.”
Alexander also spoke out the first sitcom he did after Seinfeld, The Bob Patterson Show. He was honest about why he thought the series failed. “We went on the air days after 9/11. We were going up against Frasier. We had a lot of things structurally going up against us,” he said. But he also noted that his career post-Seinfeld was difficult because he’d been put into leadership roles and he didn’t have a “bulletproof” guy like Jerry Seinfeld above him. “I was always hovering near the top of the food chain,” he said, “and I was not strong enough to hold that role, so when the going got tough, I didn’t have the experience to fix it or play the politics or whatever was needed, and so it would ultimately crash.”
As for whether he still keeps in touch with the cast? No. Not really. He has a lot of love for them, but they were never really that close outside of the set. “The four of us were never really social friends, so when the show ended, we had no history of that … My closer relationships from that show are people like Patrick Warburton, Bryan Cranston, and some of the bench.”
Source: WTF with Marc Maron