There are few sitcom casts with chemistry as great as Seinfeld’s. The dynamic shared by Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards is one of the main reasons why the show was so hugely successful. Despite their dysfunctions, Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer were a believable quartet of best friends.
But the show also had a huge cast of supporting characters that popped in and out over the years. Some of those supporting characters became icons who were just as beloved as the main cast, while others were fundamentally unfunny and ruined any episode that they were in.
From his intense rivalry with Jerry to his many get-rich-quick schemes with Kramer, Newman was one of Seinfeld’s best supporting characters because his presence made the main cast funnier in addition to being individually hilarious in his own right.
Wayne Knight always delivered Newman’s monologues perfectly, whether he was ranting about why postal workers occasionally go mad or warning Jerry that his day of reckoning will eventually come.
Worst: Russell Dalrymple
When Jerry and George were developing a super-meta sitcom pilot for NBC in the fourth season of Seinfeld, the duo constantly butted heads with Russell Dalrymple, the president of the network.
Apart from when Jerry and George’s script made him throw up, he was painfully unfunny — despite the brilliant acting talents of a squandered Bob Balaban. When Russell became dangerously obsessed with Elaine toward the end of his arc, it was just creepy.
Best: Mickey Abbott
Whenever Kramer got an acting gig, it usually involved his buddy Mickey. They worked as stand-ins in a soap opera, they got jobs as a mall Santa and his elf around the holidays, and they pretended to have symptoms to help medical students identify diseases.
Mickey was one of Seinfeld’s greatest short-tempered characters, not holding back if Kramer wore skinny jeans to an audition as a businessman or if George used a politically incorrect term to describe him.
Worst: Sally Weaver
Played by Kathy Griffin, Sally Weaver was an unceasingly irritating friend of Susan’s who constantly made life hell for Jerry. First, Sally made him take her engagement gift on a plane despite being an executive at FedEx, then she brought him the wrong barbecue sauce for the Charles Grodin show.
Worst of all was when she tried to make it as an actor. Kramer told her Jerry thought she had no talent, and she started performing a wildly popular one-woman show called Jerry Seinfeld is the Devil.
Best: David Puddy
Patrick Warburton’s distinctive voice makes almost all of his line deliveries hysterical. The fact that he’s also a gifted comic performer who can put the perfect inflection on each word is the cherry on top.
Elaine’s on-and-off relationship with David Puddy was a brilliant lampoon of the usual Ross-Rachel, Ted-Robin, Jim-Pam-style “will they or won’t they?” romances, because Elaine and Puddy really shouldn’t be together.
Worst: Susan Ross
The seventh-season story arc of Seinfeld, in which George gets engaged and instantly regrets it, is one of the series’ best. A long-term relationship isn’t characteristic for George, but the writers made it work specifically for that reason — he’s uncomfortable with a partner.
Unfortunately, the storyline is let down by George’s fiancée, Susan Ross, who wasn’t in tune with the main cast’s dynamic and as a pretty ordinary person, didn’t offer much comedic value of her own.
Best: Jackie Chiles
Part of Seinfeld’s status as a ‘90s time capsule comes from Jackie Chiles, the show’s sharp satirical caricature of O.J. Simpson’s lawyer, Johnnie Cochran.
It’s a shame the rumored Jackie Chiles spin-off never got off the ground because Phil Morris fit the role of the motormouth attorney “like a glove!”
Worst: Cedric & Bob
Kramer was antagonized by Cedric and Bob, a pair of street toughs, a few times throughout Seinfeld’s run: when he was looking after Elaine’s armoire, when he refused to wear a ribbon on the AIDS charity walk, when he accidentally set a Puerto Rican flag on fire, etc.
Sometimes they were justified in being hostile toward Kramer, but most of the time, they were just loudmouthed bullies. They were one-note characters who wore out their welcome quickly.
Best: Frank Costanza
The comedy world suffered a devastating loss in 2020 with the passing of Jerry Stiller, one of the funniest people who ever lived. Stiller always provided a handful of laugh-out-loud moments when he made an appearance as George’s hot-tempered father in Seinfeld.
Whether he was threatening to move to Del Boca Vista out of spite or stealing back his own marble rye or reciting his “Serenity now!!!” mantra, Frank Costanza was always one of Seinfeld’s most hysterical characters.
Worst: Crazy Joe Davola
The character of Crazy Joe Davola doesn’t seem to have been created for a sitcom. He’s a dangerous lunatic who follows Elaine around with a camera, tries to assassinate Jerry during the shooting of his TV pilot, and kicks Kramer in the side of the head.
Davola is characterized more like Travis Bickle or Arthur Fleck than the average sitcom supporting character. He’s not funny at all; he’s just plain disturbing.