How Jason Alexander Helped A Nervous Patton Oswalt Relax In His First Paid Acting Gig On Seinfeld

It's always fun to see where your favorite comedians started out before they began landing big movie roles and releasing their own Netflix specials. Every once in a while, when revisiting an old, favorite sitcom you'll notice a familiar face that at one point you never registered, but now that they've exploded into stardom, it becomes a new and exciting experience. "Seinfeld" has had way too many guest stars to count, but I got a huge smile when a baby-faced Patton Oswalt popped up in a brief scene.

Of course, Oswalt is a staple in the world of comedy, lending his indelible humor to sitcoms like "The King of Queens," and whimsical culinary adventures like "Ratatouille" – not to mention his more dramatic turn in Jason Reitman's "Young Adult." He's become a favorite of mine, not just because he never punches down, but because he's an incredibly hilarious storyteller that really knows how to make a punchline count. Oswalt telling the story about performing at the Tulalip Resort Casino to an audience of screaming drunk folks is one of my favorites in particular.

It would take Oswalt time to get audiences to know his name. But if you want to look back at where he started out, look no further than his one scene in the season six episode of "Seinfeld" entitled "The Couch."

Alexander helped break the tension in the room

In a video put out by Netflix, Oswalt talked about his experience while working on "The Couch," which was a turning point in his career. He only had two lines, but he felt this weight pressing against him before they were about to start rolling. As it turns out, "Harley Quinn" star Jason Alexander had a hilarious method of calming Oswalt's nerves on set:

"Jason Alexander was in the scene with me and I will forever be in his debt because right before we shot, he leaned in and said 'it's still not too late to be fired, Patton.' It made me laugh so hard it so broke the tension, and then I loosened up, and I've been acting ever since."

What makes this even funnier is that this was Oswalt's first paid acting job, so naturally, the pressure was on, especially with "Seinfeld" being one of the biggest shows on TV at the time, let alone in NBC's history.

In any other context, that kind of "advice" would sound mean-spirited, but just in the way Oswalt talks about Alexander, you can hear the actor's brilliant comic timing shine through. While it was little more than a background role, Oswalt did great for what he was hired to do in that scene, which is to make it hard for George Costanza to rent a VHS copy of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (because he wants to avoid reading the book).

Every season of "Seinfeld" is currently streaming on Netflix.