Stiller's death at age 92 prompted many to regard his Frank Costanza as one of Seinfeld's funniest characters, if not the funniest, generating more laughs per minute than Jerry Seinfeld. "It’s rare to watch a scene with the great Jerry Stiller, who just passed away at the age of 92, without thinking, Yeah, that’s the funniest guy in the room," says Miles Klee. "Yet where comedic talent may easily become a path to vanity or domineering style, this was never the case for Stiller, who turned his hot-tempered humor into generosity: He fed a jolting electricity to his co-stars, who then raised their own game. One of his secrets, I suspect — at least in his beloved elder statesman roles as the irascible Arther Spooner and Festivus-celebrating Frank Costanza on The King of Queens and Seinfeld — was never cutting up as a clown while playing the grumpy sitcom dad. Instead, he inhabited them as volatile old men who behaved according to a totally serious inner logic. Stiller had a stone poker face, and he didn’t let you see that he aimed to make you laugh." Klee adds: "We can thank Jerry Stiller, then, for being a model of hilarity who did not insist on his own greatness, nor others’ smallness. He merely stepped into his opportunities and made them count, fully believing in whatever gag it was, and that the joke lands best if it doesn’t sound like a joke at all. This, it turns out, is what made him the funniest guy in the room: leaving us the space to react."
Jerry Stiller was one of the finest yellers in sitcom history: "I mean that as the highest of compliments: As long as you’re not the one being yelled at, yelling is an inherently funny act, but there are some people who have a special gift for yelling, who can raise their voice in a way that is hilarious regardless of what it is they are yelling about," says Jen Chaney. "That was Jerry Stiller." Chaney adds: "Many Americans know Stiller best for his work as Frank Costanza, the perpetually aggrieved father of George Costanza on Seinfeld. Before you say, 'Wait, he also played Arthur Spooner on King of Queens,' yes, that is true. But that’s a part that he probably would not have been offered if he hadn’t first walked around in Frank Costanza’s shoes — shoes that, for the record, Frank would never remove, not even when he went in a swimming pool...By all accounts, Stiller was a kind and gentle man, which makes the fury that Frank regularly unleashed at his son George, and others, that much more impressive. He got to show that side of himself for the first time in season five’s 'The Sniffing Accountant.' 'You can look for sneakers the next day!' he screams at George after his son complains that his whole afternoon will be ruined because his father got him a job interview for a position as a bra salesman. Stiller is brilliant in the whole scene, actually, not only when he’s losing his sh*t."
How Frank Costanza was born: "I was not the first father on Seinfeld," Stiller said in a 2005 Esquire interview. "There was another father, whom I replaced. I was out of work at the time. My manager had retired. I was close to seventy years old and I had nowhere to go. I get this chance on Seinfeld. I hadn’t even seen the show. The idea was for Estelle Harris, who was the screamer, to be the boss lady of the Costanza family. And I was supposed to be her Thurberesque husband. The part called for me to wear a bald wig to look like George and to act very meek. But after a couple of days I realized that acting meek was going to get me fired just like the last guy. On the fourth day, I said to Larry David, 'This ain’t workin’. Can I do it my way?'"
Jimmy Kimmel recalls roasting Jerry Stiller: "My first roast was of Jerry Stiller on Comedy Central," Kimmel tweeted. "After the show, he sent me a lovely letter that I will keep forever. Jerry was a brilliant actor and a particularly kind man. I am sorry Ben - best to you and your family."