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Funniest Seinfeld Moments Ranked

"Seinfeld" is indisputably one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld's "show about nothing" went on to inspire a generation of comedies about terrible and selfish people, such as "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "You're the Worst." By turning mundane events into comedy gold, the series also relied on running gags and recurring characters to entertain viewers for nine seasons.

While some didn't age well, plenty of the jokes and moments from the 1990's classic still hold up. But really, it is the characters that keep bringing us back year after year, decade after decade, to this uproarious show that was so popular it recently inspired its own LEGO set. Jerry Seinfeld as himself, Jason Alexander as George, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine, Michael Richards as Kramer, and an impressive list of supporting players created one of the funniest and most enduring pieces of pop culture of the 1990s. These are some of the funniest moments in "Seinfeld" history.

18. 'The Yada Yada'

In a moment of brilliance from late in the show's run, "The Yada Yada" was a "Seinfeld” bit that left its cultural mark. The episode aired in 1997, late into the show's eighth season, and yet it still became one of the defining moments of the show.

The episode's recurring joke begins when George starts dating a woman that tells succinct stories, using the phrase "yada yada" to gloss over the most important parts. After an unfortunately cryptic yada, George worries she may be sleeping with her ex-boyfriend again. He asks the group if they've ever yada'd over sex, setting up Elaine for one of her funniest speeches.

While "Seinfeld" didn't invent it, this episode re-popularized the phrase "yada yada yada" and its use in popular culture. It may not be at the top of this list of funniest moments, but it is certainly one of the most impactful in the show's history.

17. Elaine faked it

Jerry and Elaine's history is rarely mentioned beyond the first season of the show, and for the most part, their romantic past doesn't come up much in their friendship. However, there is one moment where this was utilized by Larry David and the "Seinfeld" writing team to great effect. That episode is the premiere of Season 5, "The Mango."

At the diner, George is bemoaning his latest experiences in bed with his new girlfriend to Jerry, worried that she is faking her orgasms. Elaine pipes up, telling him she probably is because women do it all the time. Elaine admits she even faked when she was with Jerry. This leads to an all-time great exchange between a bewildered Jerry and a smug Elaine. It's a great premise for an episode, as Jerry becomes increasingly obsessed with redeeming himself even at the risk of ruining his friendship with Elaine. "The Mango" is a wonderfully emasculating episode that makes Jerry the butt of the joke.

16. The puffy shirt

The next episode (Season 5, Episode 2) brought us another hysterical moment. It actually brought us several, including a knee-slapping b-plot about George's brief but nearly lucrative hand modeling career, but the crown jewel is the reveal of the eponymous puffy shirt. This is one of the great Jerry moments of the show.

Kramer begins dating a woman — notorious for her "low-talk" and mumbling speech — who is a fashion designer. At dinner, Jerry reluctantly agrees to wear a shirt she designed for his upcoming appearance on "The Today Show." The garment is described by Kramer as "a puffy shirt like pirates used to wear" but we don't see it till two-thirds of the way through the episode. Jerry Seinfeld's acting is rarely the highlight of the show, but the first time you see him walk out of the dressing room wearing the shirt and a hilarious dejected look, it's impossible not to recognize it as one of the great gags of the series.

15. George's voicemail

One of George Costanza's best moments comes later in the eighth season of "Seinfeld." In "The Susie" (Season 8, Episode 15), George is insistent on making a stunning entrance to the upcoming J. Peterman Ball with his girlfriend, Allison. She gives him the "we need to talk" line, and George spends the rest of the episode avoiding her until the ball.

The funniest of the measures he takes to avoid her involves sitting at home, watching TV and letting all his calls go to voicemail. We hear George's answering machine message, a self-recorded parody of the theme from "The Greatest American Hero." It is one of the best bits of George Costanza material in the show, and the best part is we get to hear it twice.

According to the behind-the-scenes DVD extras for "Seinfeld" Season 8, Jason Alexander — a theater actor before breaking into TV on "Seinfeld"— first recorded a take that sounded too good to be funny. He had to sing it again, this time more poorly.

14. The Bro (or Manzier)

Jerry Stiller was always one of the secret weapons of "Seinfeld," only brought out once in a while but to great comedic effect. While it was always a special treat to see Jerry's parents or Uncle Leo, it was the Costanzas that always stole the show. Specifically, Stiller as Frank Costanza was a brilliant addition. Stiller and Jason Alexander had great father-son chemistry, but the scenes between Frank and Kramer actually remain some of the funniest in the show. The Bro is the cream of the crop of this duo's work.

In an instance of the side plot overshadowing the main story, "The Doorman" (Season 6, Episode 17) is remembered for Frank and Kramer's brilliant business idea: a bra for men. The two agree the business could be lucrative but they have one crucial disagreement. What do they call the thing? Kramer says The Bro is the way to go, but Frank insists on changing it to the more elegant Manzier. The argument that ensues is pure hilarity.

13. 'Maybe the dingo ate your baby'

One of Elaine's funniest moments comes in "The Stranded." Sure, there are many more to come, but who's counting? It's Elaine! The 10th episode of Season 3 sees George dragging Elaine and Jerry out to a stuffy party on Long Island. One of the short conversations at this party is exemplary of how some of the best "Seinfeld" moments boil down to the perfect line delivered flawlessly. And that's exactly what Julia Louis-Dreyfus does here.

After hours of being subject to the snobby Long Islanders, Elaine starts to lose it. As a woman next to her cries out, "I've lost my fiance, the poor baby," Louis-Dreyfus delivers the perfect response: "Maybe the dingo ate your baby."

This is a reference to the 1988 movie "A Cry in the Dark," based on a true story and starring Meryl Streep as an Australian mother whose baby was killed by a dingo. The line is great even if you don't get the reference. The timing and line reading alone is enough to put it in the "Seinfeld" hall of fame.

12. Jerry owns the telemarketer

Jerry Seinfeld was and still is an obviously very successful stand-up comedian, but many of his best bits in "Seinfeld" come from him reacting to the main cast. This scene in "The Pitch" (Season 4, Episode 3) is a perfect example. It's pure gold and it is all Seinfeld through and through — minus the few lines from the telemarketer on the other side. Having beef with telemarketers feels like an idea — like many "Seinfeld" bits actually are — ripped from one of Seinfeld's stand-up routines. 

During a conversation with George and Susan at the apartment, Jerry answers a call from a telemarketer. He — seemingly politely at first — apologizes and tells the marketer on the other end he doesn't have time to speak but can call him later at home. Of course, the man says he can't do that. Jerry absolutely destroys him.

"So you don't want people calling you at home?" he asks. "No," the telemarketer says, allowing Jerry to counter with, "Good, now you know how I feel."

11. 'The Jerk Store called!'

You've probably seen the shirts with George Costanza's classic clap back printed on them. "The Jerk Store called; they're running out of you!" The lines are pure chaotic Constanza energy, and once you've seen the episode, it's impossible not to hear the line in Jason Alexander's voice every time you read it. The epically bad comeback from the (fittingly titled) Season 8 episode "The Comeback" has gone on to be one of George's most famous lines. And for good reason — the scene is a riot.

In the opening segment of the episode, George is eating shrimp at a work meeting, prompting his co-worker Reilly to zing him. In response to "the ocean called; they're running out of shrimp," George invents his seemingly brilliant comeback and brings a tray of shrimp to a meeting at Reilly's new job to prompt a repeat. We don't want to ruin the way George absolutely makes a fool out of himself if you haven't seen this classic clip but trust us. It is as tragic and hilarious as you'd expect.

10. The Christmas card

"The Pick" is an episode entirely about embarrassment. Jerry gets dumped for allegedly picking his nose ("it was just a scratch!"), but what happens to Elaine is far, far more embarrassing. For us, well, it is comedy gold and one of the best moments in "Seinfeld."

When Jerry gets a Christmas card from Elaine, he notices something off. The photo she sent to her friends, co-workers and family has her nipple exposed. Elaine cries out in one of her funniest lines: "Your whole life, you go through painstaking efforts to hide your nipple, and then boom, suddenly hundreds of people get their own personal shot of it."

To add to the hilarity, Kramer was the one who took the nip-slip photo, which leads to Elaine giving him the third degree. When the guys invite Newman in to confirm that, yes, that is Elaine's nipple on the card, she finally breaks.

9. 'No soup for you!'

If you've ever heard someone jokingly say, "No soup for you!" and didn't get it, you probably missed the "The Soup Nazi" episode of "Seinfeld." It is worth acknowledging that yes, the term Nazi is more loaded and tied to relevant current events than it was in the 1990s, but the core humor of this joke works regardless of the cruel soup maker's nickname. He is one of the all-time great one-off "Seinfeld" characters, and it was a role that changed actor Larry Thomas' life forever after.

The premise is this: A new soup shop that everyone is raving about has opened in the city. The only catch is the soup vendor is very strict about his ordering procedure. When Jerry takes George and Elaine, each of their orders is eventually met with a disgusted look and a cry of "no soup for you!" Going into exactly how George and Elaine's orders are rejected is nowhere near as funny as watching the scene, but trust us, each scene is a perfect encapsulation of the character's personality.

8. Shrinkage

"Seinfeld" is known for being a defining New York City sitcom. Pretty much every episode takes place in Manhattan. As the show grew in popularity, there were more location episodes — one of which being "The Hamptons" from the end of Season 5. This is where we get George's famous "I was in the pool!" line. 

The gang travels to the Hamptons for a vacation with George's girlfriend, Jane, and her family, including her sister, Rachel, who Jerry is dating. The relationship web is obviously set up for something, but when the punchline comes, it is truly one of the funniest moments of the show. Rachel walks in on George undressing after a long swim and laughs at him before running away. In the next scene, George and Jerry panic as they wonder if women understand the shrinkage that happens "down there" when you get out of the water. And who else are they supposed to ask but Elaine? It is another classic moment for the trio and one of the best George and Jerry exchanges in the show.

7. 'Can you spare a square?'

While sitting in the eponymous stall at a movie theater, Elaine finds she is out of toilet paper. That's how the Season 5 episode "The Stall" begins, with one of the absolute best bits in "Seinfeld." But this scene isn't just hysterical in its own right, it sets up the entire episode. Elaine asks the woman in the stall next to her (who in the first twist of many is revealed to be Jerry's date) if she can spare a square of toilet paper. The interaction is some of the funniest dialogue in the show. "No, I don't have a square to spare. I can't spare a square."

Jane (Jami Gertz), Jerry's date to the movies and new girlfriend, ends up being a core player in the episode. After learning it was she who could not spare a square, Elaine gets the perfect opportunity for revenge. It is a great end cap to the episode and one final opportunity for Louis-Dreyfus and Gertz to recapture the first moment's witty energy.

6. The Junior Mint

Another one of the most famous "Seinfeld" episodes to ever air is "The Junior Mint." It is also one of the best — with an entire plotline not even related to Kramer's antics concerning Jerry's girlfriend, whose name rhymes with a part of the female anatomy. But we're not gonna lie, the Junior Mint incident is the most memorable part.

When Elaine brings Jerry and Kramer to visit her ex-boyfriend Roy in the hospital, they are invited to watch his splenectomy. During the viewing in the hospital's operating theater, Kramer whips out a package of Junior Mints, which a disgusted Jerry rejects. Later in the surgery, Kramer's hand slips, and a delicious chocolate mint candy falls into Roy's chest cavity. It is truly one of the top all-out cringe moments in the show, but it gets even better. By the end of the episode, it turns out that after complications following his surgery, Roy has survived, all thanks to a mysterious obstruction. God bless the Junior Mint.

5. 'Not that there's anything wrong with that'

One of the great misunderstandings in "Seinfeld" happens in the Season 4 episode "The Outing." At the diner, Elaine notices a woman eavesdropping, and Jerry and George pretend to be a gay couple. Little do they know that woman is an NYU reporter set to do an interview with Jerry later in the week. During a hilarious visit to Jerry's apartment — where George is, of course, hanging out — every bit of their conservation seems to confirm to the reporter that George and Jerry are indeed a couple. When she asks a question about them being gay, the two immediately deny it, but then quickly follow up with "not that there's anything wrong with that."

The phrase is used throughout the rest of the episode as the two attempt to assert their straightness to the world while avoiding coming across as homophobic. The scene itself is a lesson in how to do this type of communication error comedy, but the entire episode remains a standout for "Seinfeld" fans.

4. Elaine's dance

In Season 8, Episode 4 of "Seinfeld," we're allowed to bask in the glow of some of the best physical comedy to ever grace the TV screen. Of course, the actor responsible is none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus, always kicking her best foot forward. "The Little Kicks" remains a fondly remembered episode for Elaine's moment of dancing and is even named after her signature move.

The episode begins when George agrees to go to a work party with Elaine. After giving a rousing toast, Elaine starts to dance, and it's the most outrageous thing you've ever seen. The episode title derives from the way Louis-Dreyfus violently kicks her feet out while sticking her thumbs up like a hitchhiker. It is the funniest Elaine moment of the show and getting to see JLD do the dance throughout the entire episode is a reason to revisit this one time and time again.

3. Kramer is out of the contest

"The Contest" is perhaps the "Seinfeld" episode most widely regarded as the best. It is, according to many fans and critics, the peak of the sitcom airing smack dab in the middle of its fourth season — also considered one of its best. It even scored Larry David a writing Emmy.

While none of the characters actually say it aloud, the contest in question involves all four of our principal characters competing to see who can go the longest without masturbating. Some of the brilliance of the episode comes from the plethora of euphemisms deployed, but "master of your domain" is the phrase that will go down in sitcom history.

The best scene in the legendary episode comes early on when the gang sees a naked woman out the window across from Jerry's apartment. Kramer caves almost instantly, running out the door, only to return a minute later to slam money on the table and exclaim in one of the character's best lines, "I'm out!"

2. 'You know we're living in a society'

Before the phrase "we live in a society" was jokerfied and turned into a meme, "Seinfeld" predicted the future of discourse. Not really, but George's outburst in "The Chinese Restaurant" — an early classic from the second season and now considered one of the best episodes — remains one of the show's funniest and most relatable moments. 

In an episode that lacks Kramer entirely, George, Elaine, and Jerry find themselves waiting an increasingly unreasonable amount of time for a table at a Chinese restaurant. While Jerry debates the merits of "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and Elaine starves herself into making desperate bets with the boys, George is waiting on a phone call from the woman he is seeing when a lady in the restaurant skips ahead of George to use the payphone. The rant that follows is epic, top-tier Costanza. This moment stands out in an episode full of standouts.

1. George saves the whale

Here it is, folks. The single best moment in all of "Seinfeld." Sometimes all the storylines intersect at just the right place, and the ending becomes magical. "The Marine Biologist" features that Larry David structure at peak form. 

In the episode, George pretends to be a marine biologist to impress a woman, which leads to a romantic date on the beach. When a whale washes up on the sand, George must save the animal or give up the ruse. Later, George tells the story in an epic fashion (one of the show's finest monologues) and concludes by pulling out the Titleist golf ball that had jammed the whale's blowhole — hit into the ocean by Kramer earlier in the episode.

"Seinfeld" usually ends in tragedy for our characters, which is, of course, hilarious. The ending of "The Marine Biologist" should be a win for George. However, after performing an unbelievable act of heroism, he still can't get the girl. This is the perfect example of the show's relentless wheel of comedy and tragedy.