So, in case you’re not up to speed on all things Seinfeld, Jason Alexander — who plays George Constanza — went on the Howard Stern show yesterday and told a story basically suggested that the character of Susan — played by Heidi Swedberg — was killed off because he (and the rest of the cast) had absolutely no chemistry with her, i.e., that she was kind of a dead fish on set. She’s “fucking impossible” to work with, Alexander said.
The story was very funny, but in telling it, Jason Alexander was not exactly kind to Swedberg, essentially suggesting she was a bad actress. At the very least, that was the perception that everyone in the universe might have gotten from the account.
As much as I might have enjoyed the story, I anticipated that an apology would soon follow. Alexander seems like a very nice guy, and I suspect he ended up feeling awful about the story the minute he left Howard Stern’s studio, cursing himself for oversharing.
Today, Alexander took to Twitter (and Twitlonger) to offer a his apology.
Ok folks, I feel officially awful. Yesterday on @Sternshow, I retold a story I had told years ago about my personal difficulties and insecurities in playing George against the Susan that Heidi Swedberg created. The impetus for telling this story was that Howard said, ‘Julia Louis Dreyfuss [sic] told me you all wanted to kill her”. So I told the story to try and clarify that no one wanted to kill Heidi.
But in telling this story, it sounds like we are putting a heavy burden on Heidi. I, personally, am not. Heidi would always ask if there was anything in the scenes she could do or if I had any thoughts. She was generous and gracious and I am so mad at myself for retelling this story in any way that would diminish her. If I had had more maturity or more security in my own work, I surely would have taken her query and possibly tried to adjust the scenes with her. She surely offered. But, I didn’t have that maturity or security
So, to all the press that is now running wild with this 15 year old story, please don’t pervert it. No one told Heidi to do anything different - and she surely would have, if asked. And no one that I am aware of, including myself, didn’t like her. And now with distance, I can look at those episodes and see that there was a fun relationship there between George and Susan. It works perfectly. I simply couldn’t see it or find it at the time.
To Heidi, I personally apologize. You are a sweetheart. I actually launched into this on Stern to defend you. But this is why I’m not a lawyer. Now everybody, calm down and just enjoy the reruns and think, ‘why did he think this wasn’t working? This is great.’”
My hot take? Heidi Swedberg was probably a very nice person, but maybe not the greatest comedic actress in the world, and Jason Alexander might have gotten carried away in revealing truth, only to realize that the truth sometimes has consequences.
Good for him, however, in trying to curtail the damage to Swedberg, who hasn’t had a screen appearance in five years. She is, however, in a band: Heidi Swedberg and The Sukey Jump Band. Turns out, Swedberg was born and raised in Hawaii, where she learned to play the ukulele.