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LOS ANGELES – When “Seinfeld” premiered on July 5, 1989, it did so to lackluster fanfare, sputtering ratings and the splash it intended to make was nothing more than a dribble during its first few seasons. So how does a “show about nothing” continue to resonate with viewers 30 years after its inception?
Series alum Patrick Warburton sat down with Fox News and shared an interesting explanation for the age-old question.
“Maybe because the way it was executed and because of Jerry Seinfeld’s comic perspective is something that everybody can sort of relate to and loves,” said Warburton of the series’ innate ability to grab a viewer’s attention.
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“You know, four friends – the way they would address social issues, the way they would address uncomfortable issues and situations with their own phraseology and whatnot, you know. It’s something that does seem to endure and stand the test of time.”
The cast of the Emmy-winning “Seinfeld” show pose with the Emmys they won for Outstanding Comedy Series on September 19, 1993 in Pasadena, Calif. From left to right: Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander. (Scott Flynn/AFP/Getty Images)
Warburton, 54, who played Elaine’s on-again-off-again boyfriend David Puddy in the unassuming sitcom is introduced in Season 6 and immediately imposes his will on the franchise with his deep voice and towering stature – Elaine found herself wildly attracted to Puddy’s masculine features, something Warburton credited when asked about the union of the unlikely pair.
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“He’s definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. I always wondered what Puddy and Elaine we’re doing together,” Warburton joked. “I always imagined the loving must have been really good because he didn’t bring a lot to the table in the realm of conversation.”
“It must have been that. Elaine, she was shallow. She probably just wanted to get it on and then be on her way,” he added.
Patrick Warburton who played the part of David Puddy on the TV show “Seinfeld” walks out onto the ice to drop the puck between Andy Greene #6 of the New Jersey Devils and Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center on February 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
While David Puddy may be one of Warburton’s most recognizable roles, the actor has long made his mark on Hollywood with venerable roles on “Rules of Engagement,” “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Men In Black II” and “Get Smart.”
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The performer also holds down voice-acting roles on “Family Guy” and “The Venture Bros.” and has lent his voice to a number of animated titles, such as ‘The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Kim Possible,” “Bee Movie” and “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.”
However, the current face of National Car Rental said all of this has been decades in the making and credited his time working on low-budget films as a young actor in hardening his passion for performing.
SEINFELD — “The Burning” Episode 16 — Pictured: (l-r) Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Patrick Warburton as David Puddy. (Joey Delvalle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
“When I was 22, I got to go to South Africa for four months and do films with Oliver Reed and he’s a legend. It was amazing,” Warburton recalled of his time pushing through the gauntlet. “The movies were Cannon films – they’re unwatchable. They’re just horrible. Reed, who would start drinking whiskey at 10 o’clock in the morning is really the only watchable thing in them because he was great,” the actor quipped.
The funnyman continued: “The rest of us suck. I was the worst of the bunch. So that was kind of like a false tale. I thought, well this is great – when you’re 22 and working in Africa in films – I’ll just do this, I guess. Then it wasn’t work that begot work, you know. So I sort of felt it [was right] to start over after that – doing theater, studying and if this is going to be something to make a living out of, you’ve got to take it seriously.”
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The rock and roll musician noted that he is frequently recognized for his “ubiquitous” voice and likened other voiceover actors to “chameleons,” explaining that they display an inherent skill of differentiating various characters. “But I’m not one of the chameleons,” he added, clarifying that though many of his characters are very different – they still sound more alike than not.
SEINFELD — “The Finale: Part 1 & 2” Episode 23/24 — Pictured: (l-r) Patrick Warburton as David Puddy, Steve Hytner as Kenny Bania, Danny Woodburn as Mickey Abbott. (Joey Delvalle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
When asked his favorite voiceover from the cornucopia of characters he’s embodied, the Bearded Pearl Clams crooner wasted no time before giving up the sentimental gentle giant he loves the most.
“Kronk is very special. ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ was the first major project I got to do. It was Disney, I love the character, I got to be a part of, sort of inventing the character,” Warburton lamented. “Because you have to – they’ve got pages of a character description but even the producers and director don’t know what a character sounds like until they hear it.”
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (L, left, ) and actor Patrick Warburton attend Juma Entertainment’s 17th Annual Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest on December 6, 2008 in Deer Valley, Utah. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
“So you’ve got to go in and bring something to the table, and so I got to get creative with that,” said Warburton before breaking out into an impromptu Kronk rendition. “This guy Kronk was, you know – he was a henchman but he didn’t seem to be terribly bad. So I just thought maybe he was a little bit sweeter and came down here. He did like to cook.”
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“And they were like, ‘That’s it,’ said Warburton. “But you could have gone dark with him. It could’ve been darker, but it just didn’t feel right, you know.”
“So you just have to figure things out and help them – and it’s fun to be part of that creative process.”
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