Over the course of its nine season run, the “show about nothing” forever changed the direction of sitcom television.
Whereas prior TV shows rarely left the comfort of their setups, Seinfeld chose to take audiences along with the group and show them in their day-to-day lives—and the awful choices they make.
Going along with Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George brought all of the characters closer to folks watching at home, and it all served to make their antics even more hilarious.
Elements of Seinfeld were eventually adapted by other shows that came after, and now TV sitcoms are sprawling epics of comedy that can take place across numerous locations.
In honor of Seinfeld’s lasting legacy, here are our picks for the funniest Seinfeld scenes and moments over its entire run.
9. George Becomes a Hand Model
On the day that George finally has to move back in with his parents, he accidentally bumps into a woman while bemoaning his luck—and she catches sight of his hands. She becomes so enthralled by them that she offers George the chance to become a hand model.
George is happy for once in his life and earns a lot of money for his hour of work. However, it all comes to an end when he gets pushed by Kramer’s girlfriend (for commenting on Jerry’s puffy shirt) and grabs an iron to steady himself.
The resulting burns render George unable to work as a hand model again, and the moment is one of Seinfeld’s best gags.
8. The Holistic Healer
When George gets told that he may need to have his tonsils removed, Kramer advises him to see a holistic healer for $38.
The process of watching George go through numerous “examinations” by the healer, coupled with the absurd suggestions of the man, is sitcom comedy at its best—especially when George ends up in an ambulance for his troubles.
Few Seinfeld moments are as out-and-out comedic as this one, with the whole cast playing it perfectly straight.
7. Kramer and the Pig-Man
When Jerry, George, and Elaine’s friend couple have a baby, the gang visit them at the hospital. Kramer, however, is running late and ends up walking into the wrong room, where he discovers a hideous pig-man.
Believing that the government is performing experiments at the hospital, he tries numerous times to get people to believe him, all before finally searching for the pig-man again.
Of course, it turns out that the pig-man is a psychiatric patient at the hospital, and Kramer ends up running around the hallways with the “pig-man” on his back.
6. Jerry’s Puffy Shirt
Ah, the pitfalls of a “quiet-talker.” When Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer are out at dinner with Kramer’s new girlfriend, she speaks so quietly that neither Jerry nor Elaine can hear her. It leads to Jerry agreeing to something that he doesn’t understand.
As it turns out, he has agreed to wear a pirate-esque shirt on national television, which he must do and can’t back out because the woman now has orders that hinge on him wearing the shirt.
Jerry gets ridiculed on TV and he finally snaps as he tells everybody that he hates the shirt, causing her to scream an expletive at him. George arrives on scene and comments on his shirt, leading her to push him (thus costing George his career as a hand model).
5. Kramer Downs Beer While Smoking
When Jerry is made by his sniffing accountant, Newman and Kramer suspect that he’s on drugs—so they send Kramer to ascertain whether or not he is. Kramer ambushes the accountant at a bar and begins acting like he does drugs to get the information he needs.
This attitude results in Kramer weirding out the accountant, though not before he downs an entire beer with a cigarette in his mouth. Kramer then takes a photo of him in a toilet stall, thinking he’s doing drugs.
The beer moment is the scene’s apex, though, especially since it’s clear that Michael Richards is really doing it.
4. The Mohel
Elaine is saddled with the responsibility of booking the Mohel for her friend’s baby’s bris ceremony. But she knows nothing about the ceremony beforehand, so she tries her best… and the Mohel arrives at the ceremony looking fine.
The problem? The Mohel is clearly not happy about being a Mohel, or with the crowd, or where Elaine places her cup on the table, or with Jerry in general. His whole attitude winds up with the gang in the hospital after he stabs Jerry during the passage.
The dialogue and delivery of all involved are incredible, and “shaky the Mohel” becomes one of Seinfeld’s best one-off characters.
3. Elaine and the Sofa Bed
When Jerry and Elaine go down to Florida to see Jerry’s parents and to go scuba diving, their trip is ruined when Elaine sleeps on the sofa bed and destroys her back on the bar that runs through it.
She’s rendered unable to walk or move too much, leading to one of the show’s best moments when she begs Mrs. Seinfeld to turn the air conditioner on.
Later, after Elaine takes muscle relaxers, she goes loopy at Morty Seinfeld’s party and starts screaming “Stella” (a la A Streetcar Named Desire) at Jerry’s Aunt Stella.
2. George the Nazi
When George and Jerry steal a limousine at JFK Airport, the driver seems to be taking them to Madison Square Garden where the Knicks are playing the Bulls. However, it soon becomes apparent that the limo was actually meant for a reclusive leader of a hate group.
The driver believes that George is that leader and Jerry is his friend. As the car journey goes on, neither Jerry nor George can get out of the limo and escape, meaning they end up at the hate rally—next to Madison Square Garden.
The whole episode is dominated by the limo journey, and hearing an in-character George tell a genuine member of the hate group to get out of the limo so he can talk to Jerry is pure Costanza.
1. Kramer, George, and the Whale
It’s always been George’s dream to be a fake architect, so when Jerry sets him up with an old school friend of theirs—telling her he’s a marine biologist—it becomes George’s finest moment on the show.
Kramer, meanwhile, has been hitting golf balls into the ocean. It isn’t until the end of the episode that the two plot threads merge:
George recounts how he was walking along the beach with his date when a bunch of onlookers spot a whale in distress. Because of his lie, he has to go into the water and save it.
The story is gripping and phenomenally told by Jason Alexander’s George, right up to when he reveals that he pulled a golf ball from the whale’s blowhole—which is when everybody looks at Kramer.
No other moment in Seinfeld has ever been funnier.