Chris Rock Says He Almost Starred on 'Seinfeld'

Though the show ended over 20 years ago, Seinfeld or the show about nothing is still considered to be one of the most influential sitcoms of our time. The series ran for nine seasons and followed four single friends, Jerry Seinfeld, George Costanza, Elaine Benes, and Cosmo Kramer, as they navigated life in New York City.

However, Seinfeld almost looked very different. Comedian Chris Rock was reportedly considered for the role of George.

George Costanza was based on a real person

Ultimately, Jason Alexander mastered the role of George, the gifted liar and manipulator who, according to the Seinfeld Wiki, has “numerous psychological problems including “sociopathy, narcissism, habitual lying, low self-esteem, sudden fits of anger, hypochondriasis, impulsive acts of ill-considered cheapness, selfishness, obsessiveness, living in fantasy.”

In fact, George was based on a real-life person, Michael Costanza, who went to college with the real-life Jerry Seinfeld. The real Costanza sued the show for $100 million for using his likeness without his permission.

However, he did not win the lawsuit against NBC and instead had to pay $2,500 for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

Chris Rock almost played George Costanza on ‘Seinfeld’

While Rock was coming to his own in films like Boomerang and New Jack City, Hollywood was definitely paying attention to him. In fact, before Jason Alexander said yes, he nearly played Costanza on Seinfield.

“I just heard that one,” he said on  The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Monday. “I mean, it was a lot of NBC talk. There was talk about Seinfeld. There was talk about me being one of the Friends at one point. Yes, I would have been the Black friend. That’s basically who I am to America at this point. Let’s just say the good people at Seinfeld, they made the right choice. He’s good. He’s amazing.”

Rock also revealed that he was actually considering taking on a role in The Cosby Show. He explained,

I was supposed to be Cockroach on The Cosby Show. That was supposed to happen, where I was Theo’s best friend, and thank God that didn’t happen.

Ultimately, the role went to actor, Carl Payne who later played Cole Brown on Martin.

A ton of other actors were also offered the role of George Costanza on ‘Seinfeld’

In addition to Rock, NBC also had a ton of other actors in mind to play George on Seinfeld. Paul Shaffer and David Allen Grier were reported to be considered for the role. A rumor swirled for years that Steve Buscemi also audition however, he later said that was not the case.

However, we do know that Danny Devito turned down the offer to play George.

”I think in the case of Danny he probably didn’t want to be — his career, when we started Seinfeld, would’ve been at its apex, so he probably didn’t want to do a sidekick role,”  Alexander told The Howard Stern Show in 2015. “Why Chris [Rock] wouldn’t do it? I don’t know, maybe it didn’t get to an offer stage. I don’t know.

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