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Larry David Would Have Quit ‘Seinfeld’ If NBC Didn’t Air “The Contest”



There are a couple of things I enjoy (and endure) in this life because of my Dad: Italian cooking (enjoy), rock & roll (enjoy), New York Mets baseball (endure), New York Jets football (endure), and finally, Seinfeld (very much enjoy).

No matter who you ask — short of the Cheers and The Lucy Show truthers — Seinfeld is widely considered the funniest sit-com and television shows of all-time. Now, I know a lot of you millennials out there (reminder, I too am a “millennial” as I am just 24) will probably swear by Friends, let me be the first, and hopefully not the last, person to tell you how very wrong you are — Seinfeld is not only superior to Friends, but any other 30-minute-show that’s ever existed. There’s a reason Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are worth almost a BILLION dollars, ya know.

Similar to how Seinfeld is considered the consensus funniest show of all-time, one of its episodes, The Contest, is considered the funniest episode of the show. Therefore, through the transitive property (one of the only thing I remember from math that I only use for comedic effect), “The Contest” is the funniest television episode of all-time. And Larry David knew it. In fact, David was so confident in the episode, he was willing to lose his job for it.

via Vulture:

Warren Littlefield, former president of NBC: The series always was completely unpredictable, and Jerry and Larry never followed rules, right? They made up their own rules.

When it came time to do the table read for “The Contest,” no one knew about the subject matter ahead of time. Rick Ludwin, the program executive on the show, he didn’t know what was coming.

Larry David: I remember being nervous because the NBC executives were there. I really had this thing going on in my head where, well, if they don’t like it, I’m just going to quit the show. I really had this built up in my head where, there’s no way they’re going to do it and I’m just going to quit if they don’t do it.

Michael Richards (Kramer): Larry was going to put his whole job on the line. I’ve known Larry since we did Fridays together, and that’s Larry David. If he believes in something, he’s just going to fight for it.

Obviously, “The Contest” made it to air, resulting in one of the most memorable television episodes of all-time.

If you’ve never seen the episode and I haven’t inspired you enough to check out the show for yourself, here’s a quick rundown of how each character drops out of the contest, each increasingly more hilarious.



And of course, Kramer:

For true Seinfeld fans, I suggest checking out the full oral history of The Contest Vulture.over on

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