Type keyword(s) to search


Ben Stiller says dad Jerry Stiller would prepare for Seinfeld like he was doing Shakespeare

  • In an interview with The New Yorker, Ben Stiller recalled his final days with his father, who died last week at age 92. "My sister and I were able to be with him," he said, referring to older sister Amy. "And, just due to the fact that he didn’t have a coronavirus-related illness, and he had been ailing for a while, we were able to be with him, which I’m very, very grateful for." Ben Stiller adds: "It’s so funny, because, when my dad died, I was looking at some old clips of the two of us on Conan, like twenty-five years ago. And I look at myself, like, “What was I thinking? Who is that person?” And I’m remembering that of course I wanted my dad on there with me, because I knew my dad would be funny. And I would dread the talk-show appearances, and it was like cheating to ask him to come and help." Ben Stiller also discussed his dad's fame playing Frank Costanza late in life. "I think Seinfeld really changed his life, because he was at a point in his career where the phone wasn’t really ringing. And he and my mom had really stopped working together," said Ben Stiller. "So, for someone who’s thrived on work and thrived on being funny and having an interaction with an audience, it really changed everything for him. I read in one of the obituaries that he had only done about twenty-five shows in the whole series. And, given the fact that he made such an impact, I hadn’t even realized that. But, I think, more than anything for him, when you see the tributes that the cast members have given to him—he was so loved by those people, because his process was so connected to other actors. He loved working with those actors, and he would prepare like he was doing Shakespeare. He would break it down, a sitcom script, and figure out, 'Why am I saying this? What’s the motivation for this character? What’s his history?' So it came out of him putting everything into it, and not trying to be funny. And yet, of course, it came out so funny because he was just putting everything into it. And it was just like the amalgam of who he was, as a person."

    TOPICS: Jerry Stiller, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Seinfeld, Ben Stiller