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Sidekick: Michael Richards

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DVD fans have long awaited the holy mackerel of sitcom releases, the elaborate Seinfeld Gift Set. Even with the reruns available each night, there’s a lot here for connoisseurs: These are the original NBC versions, restoring the minutes trimmed for syndication. If the packaging is cornier than Jerry and the gang ever were (Monk’s Diner salt-and-pepper shakers?), the extras are choice, with blooper reels that are actually funny (whatta mouth on that Julia Louis-Dreyfus!). But who’s the only character who gets his own featurette? Michael Richards’s Kramer, in which it is revealed that he wore the same pair of shoes for the series’ full nine seasons, and was often aloof from the rest of the team.

There’s a montage of you making those lightning-quick entrances and exits through Jerry’s apartment door. Did you ever slam your fingers?
Accidentally, in the door? Are you kidding? I’m an artist! There were no mistakes like that.

No mistakes, ever?
The mistakes I remember are ones that ended up adding something special to the show. Like in “The Parking Garage,” where we all cram into the car and I can’t start it? Well, the car was supposed to start. So I just kept going, doing different reactions to the stupid car. If you look closely, you’ll see the other three all cracking up, laughing real hard. We left that in—as an actor, you have to commit to the mistake.

Some say you were distant, preoccupied on the set?
Yeah, Jerry and Julia and Jason were nice and relaxed, chatting with the crew. I’d stand off behind a set, running my lines to myself, coming up with new versions of those odd, gurgling, beeping sounds Kramer used when he was agitated. That’s why I’m no good on the commentaries, because I don’t remember anything interesting that happened on the set. I was in my own world.

What are you doing now?
There’s a play I’m looking to do in Manhattan—I don’t want to talk about it yet. I like the stage; I did a production of Arsenic and Old Lace in London not long ago and loved it.

Were you crushed when The Michael Richards Show was canceled so quickly?
Oh, God, no! It was so unformed, discombobulated. I was out of my element. When they said they were shutting it down after six episodes, I said, “Thank God for that!”

Seinfeld Gift Set (Seasons 1–3)
Columbia Tri-Star. $119.95.


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