Jerry Stiller still isn’t sure of the Costanza family’s background on “Seinfeld.”
The 91-year-old comedian, who played the volatile father of George Costanza (Jason Alexander) in the classic sitcom, playfully discussed the confusion this week.
“It was never really clear if the Costanzas were Jewish or Italian or what they were,” he said in a video at the Museum of the Jewish People–Beit Hatfutsot gala in New York City on Monday, according to the New York Post. “Jason, Estelle [Harris, who played George’s mother] and I were given the name Costanza, which sounds Italian, but there were episodes where I cooked Jewish food and ate knishes and kasha varnishkes in bed.”
Stiller has an explanation at the ready. “When people asked me about this, I would simply say it was because we were a Jewish family in the witness protection program,” he said.
But Stiller’s Frank Costanza and his clan really shouldn’t be given an established heritage anyway. This is the man who, after all, invented the holiday alternative Festivus. No religious affiliation necessary.