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Jason Alexander Was Several Episodes Into Seinfeld Before He Realized George Was Based On Larry David

"Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David appeared in the flesh on the show several times in roles that carried varying degrees of absurdity: newsstand operator, caped lawyer, Greenpeace activist, and aluminum-clad spaceman. But his mannerisms and personality were on camera in 171 of the series' 173 episodes as Jerry's balding, neurotic friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander).

Fans of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" will no doubt recognize the obvious similarities between Larry David and George Costanza, from the receding hairlines and glasses to their friendships with Seinfeld and persistent insecurity. 

But long after being cast in the role, Alexander still didn't make the connection in his own head, instead fashioning George after another notoriously neurotic Jewish New Yorker. In an interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Alexander said his audition process was somewhat mysterious and he only got a few pages of the pilot episode, which to him sounded very Woody Allen-esque. For his initial audition, Alexander said he "affected essentially a Woody Allen impersonation  ... Very broad New York, very nasal, with the stuttering. I had no idea at that time that [George] was any kind of an alter-ego for Larry David ... I went through easily the first five, six, seven episodes of that show with Woody Allen in the back of my mind"

After one confusing table read, Alexander came to realize that George was Larry David

Soon after that, Jason Alexander explained, a conversation with Larry David about a script point led him to the realization that he was supposed to be the embodiment of David himself. "Somewhere in those [first] eight episodes they wrote a scenario where George got into a situation which I thought was completely unlikely and then reacted to it in a way that I thought was for writing purposes only, because no human being would do this," the actor said.

Alexander went to David, explaining that the scenario itself was unbelievable and George's reaction was even more preposterous. He recalled that "Larry looked at me and went, 'What are you talking about? This happened to me and this is exactly what I did.' 

And that was when the bell went off in my head ... He's George. He's writing George ... And that's when Woody Allen went away and I started to laser focus on what makes Larry Larry and incorporate as much of it as I could into the building of that character."

George Costanza and Larry David both returned to jobs they had quit angrily

The "Seinfeld" episode in question is likely Season 2, Episode 7, "The Revenge," where George quits his job at Rick Barr properties with an insulting tirade and then walks back in the following Monday as if nothing had happened. 

In 2017, Larry David told Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair about a similar experience he had after being hired as a writer on "Saturday Night Live" during Dick Ebersol's brief tenure as producer. After growing increasingly upset that his sketches were frequently cut after dress rehearsal, David approached Ebersol and quit with an obscenity-filled rant, but said when he went home, his neighbor, comedian Kenny Kramer — the inspiration for Michael Richards' Cosmo Kramer — told him to "go back on Monday and act as nothing had happened.

"I went in for the meeting on Monday ... I took a seat with all the writers," David said. "He started going around the room asking each writer what they were doing. He came to me and I said, I'm thinking about doing a sketch about a trapeze artist."