On Tuesday, August 23, the man you knew and loved during his nine year stint as George Costanza on NBC’s Seinfeld, will bring his unique and hysterical comedic insights to the United Jewish Appeal stage (UJA).
The featured speaker at UJA’s upcoming community launch of its Campaign 2012 at Toronto’s Sony Centre at 7:30 pm, Jason Alexander portrayed the unforgettably neurotic Costanza from 1989 to 1998.
Whether it was the infamous Penske File episode, or when George attacked an unsuspecting mourner at a funeral for “double-dipping”, Alexander’s personification of insecurity, paranoia, and other neuroses, as well as his unique quips and one-liners quickly became – and remain still – a part of our lexicon.
The role of George Costanza was an actor’s dream, especially having the opportunity to work with such a talented ensemble cast week after week. And, in an interview with The CelebrityCafe.com, Alexander was asked if being remembered as George, and not Jason, would bother him.
“Oh, um, one percent,” Alexander said. “You know, this is the clarion cry of every actor that's ever done, or that's ever played a famous role. But at the end of the day, no, it doesn't truly bother me, The things that I prefer, when I walk through hotels, when they yell out “George!”, I try not to stop, because so many times, people have been actually calling somebody named 'George'! So, uh, I've been embarrassed a few times too many, ha ha! I do think that if you're going to yell out to me in a hotel, know my name, you know? You'll probably get a much better answer from me that way. But no, I have no delusions that on my final day on this planet, IF the news cares to recognize it, they will say “George Costanza has left the mortal coil today.”
UJA’s Campaign 2012 – chaired by Gilbert Palter and Barbara Bank – is focused on four essential pillars:
- Social justice (tzedakah) for all
- Education in aid of the Jewish identity so important for our future
- A clear, unified voice in the face of anti-Semitism and racism
- Standing up for, and with, Israel
During his performance at the Sony Centre, Alexander, who recently dropped around 30 pounds as Jenny Craig’s newest celebrity spokesman, will be interviewed in a one-on-one interview with another Seinfeld fan, Toronto’s own, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada fame.
Known more for pucks and a stick, than yuks and shtick, the 41-year old Friedman, jumped at the chance to moderate the interview with Alexander.
“I think you have to renounce your Jewish identity if you didn’t like Seinfeld,” says Friedman, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “I still watch the repeats on television and my wife has the entire series on DVD. One of my closest friends looks a bit like Jason, and is frighteningly similar to the George Costanza character, too.”
Friedman, who has visited Israel several times, and whose youngest sister, Erica, lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and two children, has a strong sense of identity when it comes to the Jewish state.
“I’ve always believed in a strong Israel,” says Friedman whose maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. “Things have changed a lot in the past 20 years; Israel’s lost a lot of support in the world. Things aren’t easy when you’re surrounded by people who root for your failure – or worse.”
And, for a man used to discussing fore-checking, goaltending and penalty-killing, and interviewing the likes of former Maple Leaf Doug Gilmour, does Friedman worry about being out of his element with Alexander?
Not a chance.
“The similarity between interviewing Doug Gilmour and Jason Alexander is that people want to learn about them; it’s not about you,” says Friedman. “So, your job is really to put them in the best possible position to come off well. A lot of it is research. If you’re not well prepared, it can suck the life out of your guest. I assume I’ll speak briefly to him the night of the interview, too, and get a better idea of what he likes to talk about and what he doesn’t. And, at the end of the day, you want people to leave the event saying, ‘I was entertained and I learned something interesting I didn’t know before.’ This will be an audience that loved Seinfeld. What can we tell them they didn’t already know? What stories can we reveal that will make them laugh?”
Between Friedman’s second-to-none, laid back and informative interview talents and Alexander’s treasure trove of comedic, behind the scene comedic insights, chances are that there will be plenty to make even the most knowledgeable Seinfeld fanatic laugh.
This definitely promises to be a “show about something.”
Tickets are going fast!
To order yours today visit http://ujaevents.com/registration/jasonalexander, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the UJA Hotline at 416.631.5705.