On Saturday, word broke that Larry King — legendary broadcaster and prolific interviewer, whose CNN show was long the network’s top-rated show — had passed away at the age of 87. Tributes poured in, with people remembering some of his finest moments. One clip got more attention than most: The time, in 2007, when he enraged Jerry Seinfeld on-air, while the comic was promoting his film Bee Movie, which also featured a cameo from King himself.
Larry King pioneered the live-interview environment we now take for granted — where you weren’t exactly sure the whole chat wouldn’t simply combust. That’s why the fumble with @JerrySeinfeld remains timeless. 🔥
“Larry King Live” (11/01/07)pic.twitter.com/SGcRfjZSMy
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) January 23, 2021
The clip finds King — who famously never prepared for interviews, simply asking inquisitive questions — asking whether NBC cancelled his beloved show Seinfeld, which aired its final episode nine years prior. Of course they didn’t — it was the network’s top show, and Seinfeld simply decided to end it while it was on top. But Seinfeld took extreme umbrage with the idea that there was any doubt.
“You’re not aware of this?” Seinfeld asks after shooting him a bewildered look. “You think I got cancelled? You’re under the impression that I got cancelled?” He didn’t let up. “This is pretty well-documented. Is this still CNN?” He even let out a semi-mocking, “Do you know who I am?” Seinfeld eventually starts laughing along with King, but it’s clear the implication that he was forced off the air got under his skin.
A lot of people dug up the clip as well.
With the news that Larry King passed away this morning, I had to go back and watch this interaction with Jerry Seinfeld. pic.twitter.com/qPc2ThOrNF
— Alex Seixeiro (@alexfan590) January 23, 2021
The Larry King interview where Jerry Seinfeld blows up at him always felt like a sketch to me. Seinfeld was on to promote “Bee Movie,” which King has a cameo in — I figured King was doing a bit. Big deal in the proto-meme era when clip couldn’t be shared immediately.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 23, 2021
Some dug out an image of King and Seinfeld in the movie the latter was promoting.
everyone's talking about Larry King's interview with Jerry Seinfeld, but they're all forgetting this one pic.twitter.com/PYDBg7ZsCu
— Your Least Favorite Ethan (@YLFEthan) January 23, 2021
Despite his sterling reputation, King was known to occasionally screw up. When he scored an interview with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, he accidentally called the latter “George.” She even pissed off Elizabeth Taylor after he suggested that her late husband Richard Burton sometimes took roles that were beneath his talents. Then there was his interview with Danny Pudi, which went viral late last year.
I know today is about Larry King but can we pause for one moment to acknowledge that Danny Pudi is a gd genius? https://t.co/1lKSf1e4k6
— Marin Cogan (@marincogan) January 23, 2021
But King got along famously with almost everyone, getting them to loosen up and produce great break-out moments. He was held in such esteem that Marlon Brando chose Larry King Live as the only place he would promote his memoir Songs My Mother Taught Me — an interview that ended with them singing “Got a Date with an Angel” together and Brando kissing him on the lips. There was no one like Larry King.