Oral history of Seinfeld's iconic episode "The Contest"

On November 18, 1992, the Seinfeld episode "The Contest" aired for the first time. That was the one about who could control their masturbatory urges to become "master of their domain," yada yada. New York/The Vulture have an oral history of this classic bit of television history:

Larry David, writer of “The Contest”: I can’t believe I have to discuss this at my ripe age. I would say there was only one other person involved [in the actual contest]. Should I mention his name? I don’t even know — my friend Frank Piazza. I don’t remember what the bet was. There must have been some money involved. I think it was a small amount. [The contest lasted] two days. Maybe three. I just remember it didn’t last very long. I was surprised at how quickly it ended. I won handily, yes.

Kenny Kramer, friend of Larry David, a.k.a. the real Kramer: I wasn’t in [the contest] because I knew I would never win it.

David: By the way, [the idea] was in my notebook for some time and I never even mentioned it to Jerry [Seinfeld] because I didn’t think there was any way that he would want to do it, and I didn’t think there was any way the show actually could get done on the network. So it took me a couple years, you know, to even mention it to Jerry because it didn’t even occur to me that it was a possibility. But he was all for it.

Warren Littlefield, former president of NBC: The series always was completely unpredictable, and Jerry and Larry never followed rules, right? They made up their own rules. When it came time to do the table read for “The Contest,” no one knew about the subject matter ahead of time. Rick Ludwin, the program executive on the show, he didn’t know what was coming.

David: I remember being nervous because the NBC executives were there. I really had this thing going on in my head where, well, if they don’t like it, I’m just going to quit the show. I really had this built up in my head where, there’s no way they’re going to do it and I’m just going to quit if they don’t do it.

Loading...