Let’s get the follicular elephant in the room out of the way first thing.
No, that isn’t Jason Alexander’s real hair. Yes, it’s a hairpiece. No, he’s not shy about telling you about his new hair. In fact, his one-man touring show is called “An Evening With Jason Alexander and His Hair.”
Known instantly around the globe for his role as the very bald George Costanza from his “Seinfeld” days, Alexander said he began wearing his new hair a couple of years ago after losing out on roles because of his unavoidable resemblance to his famous former alter ego.
“At the end of the day, the producer had a problem that I kind of looked like that George Costanza guy. He didn’t want to face that moment where the audience said, ‘Oh George.’” Alexander said in a recent phone interview. “I just got frustrated. For a character actor to be pinned in and associated with one role is really detrimental. I mean, it wasn’t like I was trying to pull a fast one. But I wanted to say, ‘Look, I can look like anyone I want to.’ Don’t let the fact that George is bald and Jason is bald be a detriment. Enough people look at my hair and say, ‘Hey that’s pretty good.’ I treat it with some whimsy. And I realize it’s unbelievably eccentric of me.”
Alexander chose to go with a hairpiece instead of hair replacement because of the versatility it gives him.
“I love the flexibility of being bald. I can change the color and style,” Alexander said. “A lot of bald guys say that’s great. We’ve never thought we can have so many different looks. We’re too embarrassed we’d be ridiculed. I say, ‘Hell with it,’ go with it and have fun.”
And have fun with it he has. Alexander discusses his hair in his new touring show, which is a mix of stand-up, live music and improvisation. Alexander sings and also elicits audience participation throughout his act. He said the mix in his performance is intentional.
Those who know Alexander only as the neurotic, self-absorbed best friend of Jerry Seinfeld from the legendary ’90s sitcom might not know that before he landed the role, he was a Broadway veteran with a Tony Award on his mantel. After “Seinfeld” ended in 1998, Alexander returned to the stage, as well as starred and made guest appearances on numerous television shows in the 15 years that have passed since the “show about nothing” went off the air.
Alexander spoke with The Bee recently about his touring show, being George and his magical passion from his home in Los Angeles.
Poker star started when I thought I was a pretty good player and was invited to tournaments. Then I realized it’s a game with enormous skills and challenges. I am enormously challenged by it. And I am fortunate enough to be sponsored.
And magician, that’s what I wanted to be most in life. When I was a kid, I thought if I could spend my life as a magician, that would be a pretty good life. I adore magic to this day. I started at 6 years old. The only reason there isn’t any magic in my touring show is because it’s a pain in the ass to carry the things you need to bring to have a magic show. But magic is very much a part of my life, to my wife’s great chagrin.
I love the ability to do this show I’m doing for you guys. I love directing. One of things about an actor’s lifestyle is you just don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I kind of like it. But when doing a series, you know what you’re doing tomorrow. We all have to be grateful for what comes our way. I try to say yes to anything that has great intentions with people that are worthy. Right now, I’m really having a blast doing the touring show. It’s not something I ever anticipated doing in my life. I’m not a stand-up comic, but I really love getting up in front of audiences with this particular show. I’m having an immensely good time.