Anda di halaman 1dari 20

EPISODE

IN THEIR OWN UNIVERSE


TEASER: IM OUT THERE AND IM LOVIN EVERY MINUTE OF IT! FADE IN: INT. LIVING ROOM - NEW YORK APT. - EVENING We open with a wild-looking man with crazy hair, a cigar in his mouth and a Hawaiian shirt bursting through the door, doing a twist and bringing forth a roar from the studio audience. Looking back on the brilliantly written Seinfeld, most devotees think of a particular episode or two with a chuckle and say, Remember the one ... and then spin off into their interpretation of the lunacy that series showcased every week. More often than not, many of the classic moments involve Mr. Cosmo Kramer, played hysterically by Michael Richards. Remember the one where Kramer was convinced there was a pig man at the hospital that the government was experimenting on, and he tried to rescue him? Remember the one when Kramer bought a chicken to live in his apartment so he could have cage-free, farm-fresh eggs? Remember the one where Kramer invented The Bro, his bra for men? And maybe the best of all, remember the one when Kramer worked as an extra on a movie, got the acting bug and decided to move to California?
GEORGE COSTANZA: California? You're really moving to

KRAMER: (Points to his head) Up here, I'm already gone.

195

That about sums it up for this eccentric character that made us laugh week after week (and still does in syndication). Kramer, more than any other character on that show, embodies the wackiness that is Seinfeld. He is always coming up with strange ideas that seem to come out of left field, yet make perfect sense to him. He is constantly in awe and wonderment of the world that surrounds him, even if it is a world only he sees. He constantly gives Jerry fuel for his sarcastic observations. He dresses odd, he looks odd, he IS odd. And he makes us laugh. No, he makes us guffaw, especially when he enters a room, because you never know where hes coming from. But we know its somewhere unusual. We know that because Kramer is In His Own Universe. ACT ONE WHO IS IN THEIR OWN UNIVERSE? The In Their Own Universe (ITOU) characters are some of the weirdest, edgiest and funniest characters of all time, mainly because they are allowed to do and say almost anything and everything. They are the ones that amuse us simply by talking because it very rarely makes any sense at all to us rational viewers. They have an unedited stream of consciousness. They are free-wheeling on what they believe, what they do and how they do it. That makes them unpredictable and a lot of fun. And let me remind you, the unpredictable often breeds good comedy. And there have been some great actors who have won critical praise, Emmy awards and fat paychecks doing just that. I want to start with probably the best of the females that embody this ITOU character.
PHOEBE: Phoebe. That's, P, as in Phoebe, H, as in heobe, 0 as in oebe, E, as in ebe, B, as in bebe, and E as in ... 'Elio there mate.

That interesting little spelling of her name pretty much sums up where Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) is coming from; which is ... I have no idea! Nobody does and thats what makes her and the show Friends so incredibly funny.

196

Like many of the other characters, the ITOU is primarily used as a supporting character to provide that instant comedic relief, much in the same way as The Dumb One. They often start out as a minor character that just appears from time to time to say or do something crazy, either to help introduce a new plot line or to give viewers a break from an existing plot line. However, such as in the case of Seinfeld and Friends, these characters tend to develop quite a following rather quickly. They become break-out characters. Therefore, they find themselves becoming more important to bigger storylines. Whenever the ITOU opens his or her mouth, walks into a room or gets involved in a scene, you never know whats going to happen next (and neither do the other characters), and that keeps the ITOU character and the show fresh and exciting. Because comedy comes from the unpredictable, this is a character that can always be funny. There are a number of ways the ITOU characters are portrayed. First of all, there are some characters that literally come from another universe, like ALF, Mork (Robin Williams) from Mork & Mindy, Uncle Martin (Ray Walston) from My Favorite Martian or from another time like Jeannie (Barbara Eden) from I Dream of Jeannie or another dimension like Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) from Bewitched. Or they come from a nonspecific far off land, like Latka (Andy Kaufman) from Taxi, Balki (Bronson Pinchot) from Perfect Strangers or Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) from That 70s Show. These characters are literally from a different place so they often clash with what we consider a normal society. They have different cultural values, a different set of principles and a different frame of reference, even different sayings. But all of it makes sense to them.
BALKI: You may call it intuition. You may call it common sense. You may call the wind Mariah.

Then there are some characters like Kramer and Phoebe that come from a place I call Cloud Nine. While theyre from Earth, they were born odd and have carried it into adulthood, like Jim (Christopher Lloyd) from Taxi, Lenny (Michael McKean) and Squiggy (David Lander) from Laverne & Shirley or new cult heroes

197

Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) and Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) from Will & Grace. And then there are entire casts that are In Their Own Universe, like the witches and warlocks on Bewitched, the ghouls on The Addams Family the monsters on The Munsters and the hayseeds on The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres. And then of course, there is one show that features a cast In Their Own Universe from their own universe, the aliens on 3rd Rock From The Sun. All these sitcoms feature a fish out of water concept that makes them very successful. Most stars of these shows could all fit into the ITOU category, but we know that wouldnt work, right? There would be no conflict. So what the writers do is make sure that while the show has an overall ITOU feel, the characters are specifically defined as one of the other Eight Characters of Comedy. Think of 3rd Rock From the Sun. The entire Solomon family is from another universe, and most of the humor on the show revolves around them trying to adapt to life on Earth. Still, they each take on a specific character. Dick 0ohn Lithgow) is The Dumb One. Sally (Kristen Johnston) is The Manizer. Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is The Logical Smart One and Harry (French Stewart) is ... well, hes In His Own Universe. Hes a rare character that is In His Own Universe in his own universe. As an example, heres Harry doing something normal, like looking for a job in the newspaper.
HARRY: Here's a job that I can do! "Police are seeking third gunman." Tomorrow, I'm gonna march over to the police station and show them that I'm the man they're looking for.

Harry is simply an oddball that comes up with weird schemes, hairbrained ideas and his own way of looking at the world, just like any and all other ITOU characters. And this is what makes the ITOU character great to watch, exciting to write and fun to play. We cant wait to see what theyre going to say or do next. These are the most dangerously exciting, unpredictable and interesting of characters, and they have become almost a staple for new shows, which means there are a lot of opportunities for actors looking to tackle this challenging role.

198

Commercial Break Taxi


No other show featured as many In Their Chvn Universe characters as Taxi." In fact, two of the show's main characters represent two different kinds of ITOU characters. The late, great Andy Kaufinan's Latka hails fro?n another land and often misunderstands daily life in New York City. And the Reverend Jim Ignatowski, played perfectly by Christopher Lloyd is definitely a Cloud Niner. But there were some supporting ITOU characters that would appear f-om time to time during the series' run, one of the most memorable being Carol Kane's Sinka Dahblitz-Gravas, also from another land.

Back to our show ...


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE IN THEIR OWN UNIVERSE Accepting Direct Eccentric Exciting Fascinated Focused on the task at hand Has good intentions Illogical logic In awe Marches to the beat of their own drum Non-judgmental Odd ACT TWO A PROFILE OF IN THEIR OWN UNIVERSE This character, like The Dumb One, is incredibly difficult to play and make believable. Playing this character takes a lot more than a far-off stare and a dreamy voice; it requires total devotion and commitment to these characteristics and the ability to simply let yourself go and get weird (for some of you, that will be easier than for others). Often obsessed Opinionated Optimistic Positive Sarcastic Shameless Skewed train of thought Unflappable Unpredictable Wonderment

199

What planet are you from? Those that are In Their Own Universe (especially the Cloud Nine ITOUs) have been that way since the day they were born. Nobody can really tell why this happens or where they are coming from. They just are simply different (except they dont think theyre different). From Jim to Kramer to Phoebe, they just tend to look at things differently than most other people and they always have, since the day they were born (or the day their spaceship dropped them off here). For a great kid example, check out Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) on Malcolm in the Middle.
DEWEY: (Explaining with conviction why he got home late) And then the monster started growling at me. So I threw rocks at him and I killed him. And then he started flying around on a rocket boost and I got to ride inside his head. And now the monster's my friend. And we went to get Slurpees.

Unlike most of the other characters, there isnt much of a background for the ITOUs. They simply are the way they are because thats how they were born. These are the kids who are often hyperactive or spend a lot of time gazing out the window, lost in a dream world. This reminds me of a story where a friend of mine had a talk with her 10year-old sons teacher. When asked how he was doing, the teacher said he was very bright, but had trouble focusing. My friend asked if it looked like her child had Attention Deficit Disorder, and the teacher quickly replied that no, she didnt think so. Rather, her child just seemed to be in his own little dream worldall of the time. Do you know this kid (or adult)? Do you know where theyre coming from or where theyve been? We ALL know someone like this. Thats the ITOU character.

200

Commercial Break Little ITOUs


Hollywood Moms, if you're kid is just a little, well, off, there might be a role for him or her. There have been a few shows over the past couple years that have introduced a child ITOU and they are often the funniest character on the show. Once again, think of Dewey on Malcolm in the Middle, Jordan (Jeremy Suarez) on The Bemie Mac Show, D.J., (.Michael Fishman) on Roseanne, Pearce (Johnny Lewis) on Quintuplets or even Bobby Hill on King of the Hill. So moms, don't admonish your kids for being weird. Celebrate it... and get them on a sitcom!

Back to our show ...


Hes just a little ... odd To say the least. Remember, of The Eight Characters of Comedy, these are the biggest characters and the most exciting to play and watch. You can tell that there is just something odd about them from the moment you see them. For most of these characters, it starts with their physical appearance. Think of Jims hair on Taxi or Kramers on Seinfeld. Think of Phoebes clothes on Friends. Or think of anything the girls were wearing on Absolutely Fabulous. The actors, writers and costume designers make it very obvious that were supposed to perceive at these people as odd and eccentric. Now before you go doing something crazy to your hair or putting together ridiculous ensembles, remember that being eccentric is more organic than that. Look into your life and think of those things that you do that your friends or family consider kind of out there. Think of those times youve let go, stepped out of yourself and gotten crazy. Thats how you must approach the ITOU character.

201

An explanation that needs an explanation The ITOU characters most definitely march to the beat of their own drum no matter what song is playing. However, they are able to get away with it because they use something I call illogical logic. This is the most important characteristic for actors to understand about the ITOU. Its a tough concept to grasp and an even harder one to play realistically, but it is vital to this character. ITOUs believe what they are saying is the truth (logical) because wherever they come from (be it another universe, another time, a far off land or Cloud Nine) this IS their truth. And they seem stunned if other characters dont understand their truth, their point of view, their logic. It could be something that everyone else (including the viewers) can see as being completely ridiculous, but the ITOU, using his or her own unique frame of reference, will believe that it makes perfect sense.
KRAMER: They're trying to screw with your head. JERRY: Now why would a junior high school want to screw with my head? KRAMER: (Suspiciously) Why does Radio Shack ask for your phone number when you buy batteries? I don't know (EXITS).

(Notice the Classic Triplet.) And they are unflappable about it. Remember how Kramer was convinced that The Bro (the bra for men) was something that every guy needed and wanted and he was perplexed as to why others were ridiculing him for it. Nevertheless, that didnt stop him from going forth with a prototype, and thats where the unflappable trait appears. Even if everybody thinks their idea is insane or illogical, it doesnt matter as long as the ITOU believes in it. You need to remember that because of this, the ITOU sees and hears things differently than everyone else. This is where a lot of the characters humor comes from. Here is the unflappable Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) on That 70s Show chatting with Eric (Topher Grace) and showing exactly what I mean by illogical logic.

202

ERIC: Fez, I know you've spoken English for only a few weeks now. But could you have learned the phrase, "Don't tell my dad?" "Don't" being the contraction for "do not" and "tell my dad" meaning SHUT UP! FEZ: See, right there you told me not to shut up. It's a wonder you're not failing English, too. Crack a book, you lazy son of a bitch.

In many instances, another character will talk to the ITOU about a problem and the ITOU will take the information and process it from within their universe. And then somewhere in there it gets jumbled up with their illogical logic. And then they will speak and say something that makes little or no sense ... well, at least not to us. Need another example? Enter Karen Walker, played by Megan Mullally. Here she is trying to give Grace (Debra Messing) some holiday cheer in her own special way.
KAREN: Grace, it's Christmas for goodness sake. Think about the baby Jesus, up in that tower, letting his hair down so that the three wise men can climb up and spin the dreidel and see if there are six more weeks of winter.

Commercial Break Reality check


A good reality television example of this character is just about anybody on The Surreal Life especially Charo. That's a great example of what happens when you have a whole house full of ITOUs. Wow!

Back to our show ...

203

Space cadet This is where the ITOU gets most confused with The Dumb One because they share some very childlike qualities. Like The Dumb One, the ITOU is positive and optimistic. Still, the ITOU plays these traits in a different way, like Reverend Jim (Christopher Lloyd) on Taxi.
JIM: Hey, you know the really great thing about television? If something important happens, anywhere in the world, night or day, you can always change the channel.

Sometimes the ITOU is seeing or hearing things for the first time, giving them a sense of awe and wonderment. It is true that they are more fascinated with things than the other characters (once again, remember that they see things from a different perspective than most others). But, be careful, being in awe is different than playing it. The zoned out, dreamy look comes across as phony for this character and is a dead giveaway that an actor doesnt understand where the ITOU is truly coming from. Instead, use the characters fascination with everything around them. Some ITOUs are the way they are because they are too fascinated with everything around them. Cant stop that train The ITOU has a skewed train of thought that runs very differently than any other characters. They are either thinking one-step ahead, one-step behind or one-step removed. For example, if the ITOU was playing a wordassociation game and somebody said Orange, the ITOU would immediately think Apple BUT quickly jump ahead to something like Apple pie and that's what he or she would blurt out. Apple pie! Let me show you how this works. If YOU start talking to the ITOU about a friends new baby, they will take the information they receive and do something in their head like the following:

204

YOU: So, did you hear that Sally's having a baby? ITOU: Really? That's great. YOU: We have to throw her a baby shower. I think we should ... (ITOU begins to enter their own universe and internalizes the following thoughts: "I like baby showers. I like showers. I like babies. I think babies are cute. They remind me of monkeys. Monkeys like bananas and swinging from trees. I wish I could swing from a tree. Some trees have pretty leaves. What's that tree that has those crazy, long leaves?") YOU: ... and I thought we could both pitch in for a stroller. What do you think? ITOU: What's that tree that has those long, crazy leaves?

This all happens in a matter of seconds (or a BEAT). Yet when you talk to them about your friends new baby, their response can be something about a tree with long leaves. Also, remember that the ITOU has a different stream of consciousness when it comes to a subject. They might respond to something from a conversation 15 minutes ago because they are still thinking about it. These are just a few ways for you actors and writers to understand how the mind of the ITOU works. Another is to create the world of the ITOU. Know where your characters world is, where your history is, and take a step back and try to figure out how and why normal people would look at you differently. Dig through the script and try to find new and interesting things in there that the character might be in awe of or at least excited about. Remember, a lot of playing this character comes from stepping away from yourself and looking at a scene from a perspective completely different from your own.

205

Commercial Break Lets go crazy


Writers, this character is your best friend. If there is a weird or offbeat storyline that you have in mind that no other character could get away with, bring in the ITOU. After all, nothing is really too strange for the fire-spirited ITOU to do or say. The possibility for storylines, characterizations and jokes is endless. I mean, who's to say that the ITOU wouldn't do that?

Back to our show ...


Work with me now If you watch a lot of sitcoms (and you should), you will notice these supporting characters are usually featured in the B storyline, leaving the A storyline to the stars of the show. But sometimes writers will make the ITOU the main focus of an episode, especially a break-out character. If thats the case, you will see that the ITOU will present a problem or something that they are obsessing about right at the beginning of the episode and it will carry through to the end, regardless of what is happening around them. The writers of Seinfeld frequently put Kramer in the A storyline. As an example, think of the episode where Kramer spends the whole time obsessing over the fact that Newman (Wayne Knight) used his birthday wish against him.
KRAMER: I got to his birthday party, and just before he blew out his candles, he gives me this look. JERRY: Crook eye? GEORGE: Stink eye? KRAMER: EVIL eye! (Shudders)

The ITOU is always focused on the task at hand, much like how a Neurotic obsesses. This is a characteristic that you can really play up in an episode or a scene. Look for what the character wants

206

and really focus on that, regardless of what the other person is saying or whatever else is going on in the scene. That doesnt mean you should stop listening, but you (as your character) should only really take in the information that will help you with your specific want. And then when you have that information (or whatever is given to you in the scene), you simply skew it. I know, its easier said than done.

Commercial Break Using physicality


This is another character where physicality comes into play. Think of Kramer's entrance every time he came into Jeny's apartment. Often you could even see the other characters laughing. It's the way the ITOU often reacts to something or carries themselves that gets a laugh. If you're playing this character, you might want to play around with some physicality, as long as it doesn't take away from the script or the other action in the scene.

Back to our show ...


Be true to thyself The ITOUs are very opinionated. They might not necessarily see themselves as being opinionated or direct, because to them, theyre just speaking the truth. They say things that nobody else dares to mention because, in their universe, its okay to be straightforward and opinionated. Unlike The Bitch or The Bastard, they dont do it in a mean-spirited way. Rather, they are simply more positive and direct (like The Dumb One).
JOEY: Phoebes, you wanna help? PHOEBE: Oh, I wish I could. But I really don't want to.

(Notice The Turnaround.) Within their system of values, this is an appropriate response. But, as opinionated as they are, these are people that are very accepting of everybody because nothing seems too weird to them and nobody really seems strange. With the exception of Jack and Karen,

207

the ITOU is also typically non-judgmental. Its because in their heart, they really do have good intentions. They will be sarcastic just like any of the other characters at times, but they also have a live and let live mentality, and they expect others to feel the same way. They are shameless. They have no internal censor, so they just say whatevers on their mind. They are not ashamed to say or do anything, and there is proof in their dialogue. As a great example, heres Jennifer Finnigan as Marni Fliss on the short-lived Committed. When her boyfriend asks her what she wants to do in the morning, she enthusiastically replies ...
MARNI: Well, usually I poop first thing in the morning, but I can put that off.

In general, the ITOUs lead unorthodox lives and they dont apologize for anything. Because, in their mind or universe, their odd behavior is acceptable. They chalk up everything they do to life experience and as such, they have no regrets. Latka (Andy Kaufman) doesnt regret his time as a playboy. Kramer has no regrets about not having a real job. Jack has no regrets about living off Will. Karens certainly proud of her pill-popping, martini-flowing, lush life. And Phoebe doesnt regret her thievery when she was younger or really anything else she has done or will do.
RACHEL: I've never asked a guy out before. PHOEBE: You've never asked a guy out? RACHEL: No. Have you? PHOEBE: (Being serious) Thousands of times.

(Notice the punctuation and the Extended Triplet.) They are exciting and unpredictable people. In fact, they often talk of their exploits (things that would be a major deal to you and me) off-handedly. Meanwhile, all of the other characters are stunned. But its just life to the ITOU. No shame, no regrets. You never know where theyre coming from or where theyre going next.

208

JIM: I wonder about things, like, if they call an orange an orange, then why don't we call a banana a "yellow" or an apple a "red?" Blueberries I understand. But will someone explain gooseberries to me?

Who in your life is In Their Own Universe?

ACT THREE IN THEIR OWN UNIVERSE ... AND MORE The In Their Own Universe characters work well with just about anybody. They actually serve the same purpose as The Dumb One, in terms of providing constant comedic relief. In fact, it can sometimes be easy to mistake the ITOU for The Dumb One. But be warned, these are two very distinct characters with personality traits all their own. Remember, The Dumb One is oblivious where the ITOU character is actually smart. He or she just has a very different frame of reference.
MORK: I know about jail. It's when you get free food, free clothes and no rent. PRISONER: It sounds better the way you say it. I got caught shoplifting. MORK: Wow, you must be strong!

Even though he is naive and childlike, Mork is not dumb. Its just that things are different where he comes from (Ork). For those ITOUs like Mork that are actually from another universe, place or time, they bring with them their own values, morals and beliefs from their place. And this fish out of water character and his or her beliefs often conflict with what other characters or the audience considers normal life. Therefore, the ITOUs can appear dumb at times. Theyre not, theyre simply from a different place.

209

BUT there are a couple Dumb Ones that often slip in and out of the ITOU character. Both Woody (Woody Harrelson) from Cheers and Rose (Betty White) from Golden Girls will tell stories of their old hometowns. When they do, you can almost see a flip in their character. They go someplace that nobody else knows about. They go into their past, into their own universe. Rose always talks about her days at St. Olaf with a certain awe and wonderment that is different than how she talks about other things.
ROSE: Like we say in St. Olaf, Christinas without fruitcake is like St. Sigmund's Day without the headless boy.

Woody also talks about his hometown, often revealing some bizarre facts, as in this example where hes trying to cheer up Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar).
WOODY: Boy, Dr. Sternin-Crane having an affair with another guy. This reminds me of a terrible scandal we had back in Hanover, rocked the whole town to its core. Mayor's wife ran off with old Mr. Smithers. FRASIER: (Confused) Well, that's not so scandalous, Woody. WOODY: Well, Mr. Smithers was a goat.

This chapter (or book) would not be complete without discussing two of the most popular and most complex characters on television today, Jack McFarland and Karen Walker on Will & Grace, played hilariously by Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally. To get a sense of what these two are like when theyre with each other, check out this hysterical scene in which Jack is trying to avoid talking on the phone to his son Elliot.

210

JACK: No, no, he's gonna ... he's gonna try to get me to another one of his basketball games. It's just not my thing. Make up an excuse. KAREN: Alright. (Into phone) Um, Elliot, yeah. I've got some bad news. Jack and I were figure skating and he plunged through the ice. Haven't heard from him since. Could I take a message? Okay. You're trying out for the cheerleading squad? JACK: (Grabs phone) Brrr ... I'm back!

(Notice The Turnaround.) These two are the most talked about characters when I do my One Day Comedy Intensive Class because they seem to fall into all of The Eight Characters of Comedy. And they do, kind of. When the show began, Jack was definitely the narcissistic Manizer (there are no straight men, only men that havent met Jack), while Karen was The Materialistic Bitch (Honey, the only thing I file is my nails). To the credit of both of these actors and their skilled work, the writers decided to add even more depth to Jack and Karen. While they still play up these characteristics, they also encompass other characters. They can be neurotic, bitchy, clueless, money-hungry, sex- crazed and believe it or not, even logical and smart at times. But when you look at them, who they really are and where they came from, they showcase all of the characteristics we just discussed in this chapter, especially illogical logic.
JACK: I don't know how much longer I can live with Will. I mean, every time I get in the shower with him, he's like "Jack, get the hell out!"

211

KAREN: I know, honey. Grace is driving me nuts too. She can't concentrate on work anymore. She just sits around all day, doodling pictures of people's houses on these enormous sketch pads. And then she's on the phone all the time ordering furniture. Honey, where's she going to put all that, huh? In those "houses" she's drawing? (Both laugh mockingly)

Not only are these two characters in their own universe, but to complicate matters, when they come together they enter a whole new universe: the Jack and Karen universe! In this universe, anything goes, including trading sexual innuendoes, charging up Stans credit cards, bumping bellies or sharing grandiose drama over the superficial.

Possible intentions for the In Their Own Universe character are ... to do any of the other character intentions but do it in their own special way!
Final Thoughts On Playing In Their Own Universe The ITOU hands down is the most difficult character to play, especially for those actors who fall naturally in The Logical Smart One or Neurotic area. This is a character that cant be forced. It needs to be organic because there are a lot of traps in playing this character, and its easy to come off fake. Try to associate with the characteristics, and think of times when youve been in awe, felt shameless or convinced yourself of something others thought was crazy. Remember, these are the people that grew up in an odd world that they were either born into or created in their own mind. It means that they simply look at life in a different way and they go through life at their own pace and their own rhythm. If youre going to play this character, its important for you to understand this world of theirs, this way of thinking. The more convincing you can be in creating and then believing inthis characters universe, the funnier it will be for us to watch you.

212

To make things even more difficult, the ITOU also tends to adapt characteristics of other characters. But the ITOU puts their own spin on them. Confused yet? Essentially, the ITOU is able to tap into all the traits of the other eight characters and make them fit into their own universe (like Jack and Karen). Its not uncommon at times for the ITOU to become The Logical Smart One, like Phoebe often does when she helps out one of her Friends. She will, for a moment, have a clear, logical thought that will actually make sense and help out another character. But, before the commercial break, Phoebe will have the blow (the joke) that will bring her back into her own universe. Remember, in general, the ITOUs are endearingly wacky, and they all live within their own frame of reference. They simply dont hear or comprehend things like most people do. In my class, after a 10 minute lecture on something, there is always at least one student who raises his or her hand and asks a question that will have absolutely nothing to do with what I was just talking about. All heads will turn and some people will laugh, and he or she will be clueless as to why. Its not that they are dumb or slow, its that they are processing my speech in a totally different way, usually from a totally different place. Thats where you need to be to play this character. You need to come up with your own universe, and you need to play the scene through it. Its tough, but if you can pull it off, the result can be strong comedy. As a conclusion, lets have Kramer sum it up himself. Remember this famous episode where he discusses the Soup Nazi with Elaine (Julia LouisDreyfus), whos trying to figure out what mulligatawny is?
KRAMER: ... It's a delightful Hindu concoction simmered to perfection by one of the great soup artisans in the modern era. ELAINE: Who, the Soup Nazi? KRAMER: He's not a Nazi, Elaine. He just happens to be a little eccentric. Most geniuses are.

END OF SHOW

FADE OUT.

213

ROLL CREDITS ... Here is a list of some of the great In Their Own Universe characters. Character Aunt Clara Balki Bartokomous Buster Bluth Phoebe Buffay Pearce Chase D.J. Conner Dewey Fez Marni Fliss Latka Gravas Jim Ignatowski Jimmy James Jeannie Maxwell Klinger Lenny Kosnowski Cosmo Kramer Larry, Darryl and Darryl Jack McFarland Eddy Monsoon Mork from Ork Harry Solomon Squiggy Squiggmann Patsy Stone J ordan Thomkins Uncle Martin Karen Walker Actor Marion Lome Bronson Pinchot Tony Hale Lisa Kudrow Johnny Lewis Michael Fishman Erik Per Sullivan Wibner Valderrama Jennifer Finnigan Andy Kaufman Christopher Lloyd Stephen Root Barbara Eden Jamie Farr Michael McKean Michael Richards William Sanderson, Tony Papenfuss, John Voldstad Sean Hayes Jennifer Saunders Robin Williams French Stewart David Lander Joanna Lumley Jeremy Suarez Ray Walston Megan Mullally Show Bewitched Perfect Strangers Arrested Development Friends Quintuplets Roseanne Malcolm in the Middle That 70s Show Committed Taxi Taxi News Radio I Dream of Jeannie MASH Laverne & Shirley Seinfeld Newhart Newhart Newhart Will & Grace Absolutely Fabulous Mork & Mindy 3rd Rock From The Sun Laverne & Shirley Absolutely Fabulous The Bernie Mac Show My Favorite Martian Will & Grace

214