THE PHONE MESSAGE
Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
The bad thing about television is that everybody you see on television
doing something better than what you're doing. Did you ever see
anybody on TV
like just sliding off the front of the sofa with potato chip
crumbs on their
commercial people - where do they summon this enthusiasm? Have
you seen them?
"We have soda, we have soda, we have soda", jumping, laughing,
the air - it's a can of soda. Have you ever been standing there
watching TV and you're drinking the exact same product that they're
right there on TV, and it's like, you know, they're spiking volleyballs,
jetskiing, girls in bikinis and I'm standing there - "Maybe I'm
putting too much
ice in mine."
So then, as we were leaving, we were
just kind of standing there,
and she was sort of smiling at me, and I wasn't sure if she wanted
me to ask her
out, because when women smile at me I don't know what it means.
interpret it like they're Psychotic or something and I don't
know if I'm
supposed to smile back, I don't know what to do. So I just stood
there like -
remember how Quayle looked when Benson gave him that Kennedy
line? - that's what
I looked like.
So you didn't ask?
No, I froze.
(Points to counter) Counter.
Oh yeah. So wait, wait. A half-hour
later I'm back in the office,
I tell Lloyd the whole story. He says "So why don't you call
her". I says "I
can't." I couldn't, I couldn't do it right then. For me to ask
a woman out I
gotta get into a mental state like the karate guys before they
break the bricks.
So Lloyd calls me a wuss.
He said wuss?
Yeah. Anyway, he shamed me into it.
So you called. (They sit at counter)
Right. And, and to cover my nervousness
I started eating an apple,
because I think if they hear you chewing on the other end of
the phone, it
makes you sound casual.
Yeah, like a farm boy.
Right. So I call her up, I tell her
it's me, she gives me an
Wow. Enthusiastic 'Hi!', that's beautiful.
Oh, I don't get the enthusiastic 'Hi!',
I'm outta there.
Alright, so you're chewing your apple,
you got your enthusiastic
'Hi!' Go ahead.
So, we're talking, and I don't like
to go too long before I ask them
out, I wanna get it over with right away, so I just blurt out
"What are you
doing Saturday night?"
Great day in the morning.
Then I got off the phone right away.
Sure, it's like robbing a bank: you
don't loiter around in front of
the teller holding that big bag of money. You come in, you hit
and get out.
It's amazing: we, we both have dates
on the same night. I can't
remember the last time that happened.
George's car, parked outside apartment building, night. George
and his date
I can't stand doing laundry. That's
why I have forty pairs of
You do not.
Absolutely. Because instead of doing
a wash, I just keep buying
underwear. My goal is to have over three hundred and sixty pair.
That way, I
only have to do wash once a year.
(They both laugh)
Jerry's car, also parked outside an apartment building. Jerry
(In awful Scots/Irish accent) Come on,
try it. Let me hear you try
a Scottish accent.
Irish, Scottish, what's the difference,
So, er, thanks for dinner. It was great.
Yeah. We should do this again.
Would you like to come upstairs for
Oh, no, thanks. I can't drink coffee
late at night, it keeps me up.
(Looks disappointed) So, um, OK.
Yeah, take it easy.
(Donna leaves car. George realizes what he has done and bashes
forehead in disgust)
Thanks again for the movie.
I'd invite you up, but the place is
Oh, that's OK.
Unless you want to go to your place.
OK, but there's no cake or anything,
if that's what you're looking
Take it easy, huh, take it easy.
I think if one's going to kill oneself,
the least you could do is
leave a note - it's common courtesy. I don't know, that's just
the way I was
Values are very important.
Oh, so important. So what are you doing
Thursday night - you wanna
Thursday's great. (Moves closer)
(Looks at his pants) Tan pants. Why
do I buy tan pants, Donna? I
don't feel comfortable in them.
Are those Cotton Dockers?
Oh, I can't begin to tell you how much
I hate that commercial.
Really? I like that commercial. (Jerry
You like that commercial?
Yeah, it's clever.
Now wait a second, you mean the one
where the guys are all standing
around, supposedly being very casual and witty?
Yeah, that's the one.
What could you possibly like about that?
I don't know, I like the guys.
Yeah, they're so funny and so comfortable
with each other, and I
could be comfortable too, if I had pants like that. I could sit
on a porch and
wrestle around, and maybe even be part of a real bull session.
Hey, I know guys like that. To me the
dialogue rings true.
(Shrugs. Pause) Even if the dialogue
did ring true. Even if
somehow somewhere men actually talk like that, what does that
have to do with
the pants? Doesn't that bother you?
(Increasingly annoyed) That's the idea.
That's what's clever about
it, that they're not talking about the pants.
But they're talking about nothing.
That's the point.
I know the point.
No one is telling you to like it.
I mean, all those quick shots of the
pants, just pants, pants,
pants, pants, pants, pants, pants. What is that supposed to be?
(Donna sighs, leans away from Jerry, looks at watch)
What's brutal about the date is the scrutiny that you put each
through. Because whenever you think about this person in terms
of the future,
you have to magnify everything about them. You know, like the
guy'll be like
'I don't think her eyebrows are even. Could I look at uneven
eyebrows for the
rest of my life?' And of course the woman's looking at the guy,
is he looking at? Do I want somebody looking at me like this
for the rest of my
I'm supposed to see her again on Thursday,
but can I go out with
someone who actually likes this commercial?
I once broke up with a guy because he
didn't keep his bathroom clean
No kidding. Did you tell him that was
Oh yeah, I told him all the time. You
would not have believed his
germs were building a town in there
- they were constructing offices.
Houses near the drain were going for $150,000.
(George enters, looking miserable, holding a brown paper bag)
(George produces Pepto-Bismol bottle and box of bicarb from bag,
them on counter)
You're still thinking about this?
(While preparing bicarb) She invites
me up at twelve o clock at
night, for coffee. And I don't go up. "No thank you, I don't
want coffee, it
keeps me up. Too late for me to drink coffee." I said this to
this stupid shouldn't be allowed to live. I can't imagine what
she must think
She thinks you're a guy that doesn't
She invited me up. Coffee's not coffee,
coffee is sex.
Maybe coffee was coffee.
Coffee's coffee in the morning, it's
not coffee at twelve o clock at
Well some people drink coffee that late.
Yeah, people who work at NORAD, who're
on twenty-four hour missile
kept saying to myself "Keep it up, don't blow it, you're doing
It's all in your head. All she knows
is she had a good time. I
think you should call her.
I can't call her now, it's too soon.
I'm planning a Wednesday call.
Oh, why? I love it when guys call me
the next day.
Of course you do, but you're imagining
a guy you like, not a guy who
goes (in stupid voice) "Oh no, I don't drink coffee late at night."
If I call
her now, she's gonna think I'm too needy.
Women don't wanna see need. They want a take-charge guy - a colonel,
kaiser, a tsar.
All she'll think is that you like her.
Yes, she wants me to like her, if she
likes me, but she doesn't like
I don't know what your parents did to
(Kramer enters, points at Jerry)
Hey, I just thought of a really funny
thing for your act. Alright,
you're up there, you're on the stage and you go "Hey, you ever
notice how cars
here in New York, they never get out of the way of ambulances
Someone's in a life-and-death situation, and we're thinking 'Well,
you should've thought of that when you were eating cheese omelettes
for breakfast every morning for the last thirty years.'" So you
gonna use it?
I don't think so.
It is funny.
That's as good as anything you do.
Alright, I gotta make a call. Everybody
out, come on.
Why do we have to leave?
Because I can't call a woman with other
people in the room. Come
on, let's go.
Oh, see, this is the problem.
You're kicking me out of my house?
Oh Jerry, do you have any apples?
Don't do the apples. That's enough already
with the apples.
(Elaine, Kramer and Jerry leave. George removes jacket, dials
Hi, it's Carol, I 'll get back to you.
Uhm, hi, it's George, George Costanza,
remember me? The guy that
didn't come up for coffee.
You see, I didn't realise that coffee didn't really mean ...
whatever. Anyway, it was fun. It was, erm, it was fun, so, oh
boy, uhm, so,
you call me back. If you want, it's up to you, you know, whatever
you wanna do.
Either way. The ball's in your court. So, er, take it easy.
(Hangs up. Jerry enters)
I'm just gonna get my jacket, I'll meet
you downstairs. What's the
matter, did you call?
Got her machine. I'm dead, I'm a dead
man. That's it. I'm dead,
I'm a dead man. Dead man.
What did you say?
I don't know what the hell I said. I
gave her an ultimatum and
there's nothing I can do. It's a machine. The little light is
'Come and listen to the idiot. Hey everybody,
the idiot's on!'
After one date you try and improvise
on her machine?
Now I'm in the worst position of all.
Y'know, my brother-in-law once left
a message on this guy's machine,
and he blurted out some business information he wasn't supposed
to, and it would
have cost him $15,000, so he waited outside the guy's house and
when the guy
came home he went upstairs with him and he switched the tape.
He did that?
Somebody did that?
She'll call you back. You're overreacting.
I have never seen one episode of 'I
Love Lucy' in my life ever.
Is there anything else about you I should
Yes, I'm lactose intolerant.
I have no patience for lactose. And
I won't stand for it. Uhm,
I'll be right back. (Goes to bathroom)
Wait till you hear this (sees Donna).
Whoa, ah, I'm sorry, I
didn't, I had no idea. (Goes to leave)
Wait, wait. He's in the bathroom.
I just wanted to talk to him for a minute,
but I'll come back.
You don't have to leave.
Donna. Oh, you're the one that likes
He told you about that.
No, he, he didn't actually tell me that,
uh, we were talking about
that commercial, in fact I think I brought it up because I like
No, he, he would never tell me anything like that. He never discusses
He's, he's like a clam. You're not gonna mention this, to him..
(To Jerry) So you go around telling
your friends I'm not hip
because I like that commercial.
What? (To George) What did, what did
Say? What? Nothing, I..
You told him how I like the commercial.
Well, so what if I said that?
Well, so, you didn't have to tell your
No, I had to tell my friends, my friends
didn't have to tell you.
(To Donna) Why did you have to get me
I don't like you talking about me with
your friends behind my back.
Boy oh boy.
I said I couldn't believe you liked
that commercial. So what?
I asked some friends of mine this week,
and all of them liked the
Boy, I bet you got a regular Algonquin
round table there.
Oh, Kramer, this is Donna.
k Oh. Cotton Dockers!
Hello! Alright, we should be going.
Come on .(Grabs Kramer)
k What? Where are we going?
Don't bother, I'm leaving.
Donna, really, you're making too much
K One hundred percent Cotton Dockers, if they're not Dockers,
I don't wanna hear it.(Leaves)
I can't believe I said that. You know
me, I'm a vault.
Don't worry about it, it wasn't working
k What happened there?
I'll tell you later.
You are not gonna believe what's going
on with this woman.
OK, so you remember I made the initial
call Sunday, she doesn't call
back. I call again Monday, I leave another message. I call Tuesday,
I get the
"I know you're there, I don't know what
your story is."
Yesterday, I'm a volcano - I try one more call, the machine comes
on, and fly
like Mussolini from the balcony- "Where the hell do you get the
invite me up for coffee and then you don't call me back for four
days? I don't
like coffee, I don't have to come up. I'd like to get one more
shot at the
coffee just so I could spit it in your face."
You said that?
I lost it.
I can't blame you. I can't believe she
never called you back.
She did. Today.
She called my office. She said she's
been in the Hamptons since
Sunday. She didn't know if I was trying to get in touch with
her. Her machine
broke, and she's been using her old machine and she doesn't have
the beeper for
So she didn't get the messages.
Exactly, but they're on there waiting.
She said she can't wait to
see me, we're having dinner tonight. She's supposed to call me
as soon as she
But what about the messages?
(George produces cassette tape from pocket)
Elaine's thing? How you gonna get in?
I'll meet her outside the building.
But you know as soon as she gets in
the apartment she's going right
for that machine.
Or she goes for the bathroom. That's
my only chance. Who am I
kidding? I can't do this, I can't do this. I don't even know
how to work those
There's nothing to it. You lift the
lid, it comes right out.
You do it for me.
Come on, it'll be so much easier.
How you gonna get me up there?
I'll tell her I bumped into you, I'm
giving you a ride uptown.
And who makes the switch?
I can't do it. I'll, I'll keep her busy.
I can't get involved in this.
I think I may be in love with this woman.
What if she sees me?
Oh, you are such a wuss.
Did you call me a wuss?
Well there is traffic. It might take
her till eight-fifteen.
I got one problem: you're keeping her
busy in the other room. Now,
what if she somehow gets away from you and is coming in? You
have to signal me
that she's coming.
A signal, right, erm, OK, er OK, the
signal is, I'll call out 'Tippy
'Tippy Toe?' I don't think so.
You don't like 'Tippy toe?'
No 'Tippy toe.'
Alright, er, OK I got it, erm, I'll
Erm, 'How do you solve a problem like
What is that?
Oh, it's a lovely song. (Sings) How
do you solve a problem like
You pick it.
Peter, Paul and Mary.
No, Trini Lopez.
(Singing) Lemon tree very pretty and
a lemon flower
You got the tape?
(Produces tapes) Standard. Micro.
How do you feel? Confident?
Not at all.
Get up, get up, it's her. Oh, the hell
with this, I'm scared to
death, just walk away, it's off, cancel everything, go!
Hey! What are you doing here? I thought
I was supposed to call you
when I got home.
I, I couldn't wait. I was too anxious
to see you.
Oh, that's so sweet.
Oh, this is my friend, Jerry Seinfeld.
I just bumped into him
around the corner. Isn't that a coincidence? The funny thing
is, I see him all
All the time.
It's nice to meet you.
So, I'm starving. Where are we gonna
You know, we could go uptown, and that
way we could give Jerry a
OK. Let's go, I'm ready, where'd you
Don't you wanna go upstairs first?
No, what for? I'll just give my bag
to the doorman.
You know, I really need to use the bathroom.
Oh well there's a bathroom in the coffee
shop just next door.
Yes, yes, but er, I have to make a call,
Well they have a phone.
(George takes Carol to one side)
I know Jerry. He has this phobia about
public toilets. I think we
really should go upstairs.
(Aloud) You know, I think I will go
upstairs. I can check my
(They enter building)
The bathroom's on the hall to the right.
Er, you know, why don't you go first,
you just had a long trip.
No, I'm fine.
Uhmmm, you know, it's the damnedest
thing, it went away.
Oh that's weird.
No, no that can happen. I've, er, I've
read about that in medical
journals. It's a freak thing, but...
Well, let me just check my messages,
and we'll go.
Uh, Carol, can I talk to you for a second?
Please, this is very, very important.
(Leads her to other room)
(Jerry goes over to machine to switch tape)
(Shouts from other room) Uhh, tippy
toe! Tippy toe! Lemon tree!
(Carol reappears followed by George)
(To Jerry) Now I know who you are. You're
a comedian. I've seen
you, it's driving me crazy.
Right. I am.
Carol, that's so rude. Please, I'm serious,
just for a moment, if
you wouldn't mind, and then we'll talk to Jerry.
(George leads Carol back out, Jerry switches tapes)
(Shouts) Hey you two. I'm ready to go.
(George and Carol return)
That's what you had to tell me? Your
father wears sneakers in the
(To Jerry) Don't you find that strange?
Well, I'll just check my machine and
we'll go. No, nothing here,
let's go. Oh, I forgot to tell you. After I talked to you today
called me and played my messages to me over the phone.
Yours were hilarious, we were both cracking
up. I just love jokes
(All three leave)
I love my phone machine. I wish I was a phone machine. I wish
if I saw
somebody on the street I didn't want to talk to I could go "Excuse
me, I'm not
in right now. If you could just leave a message, I could walk
away." I also
have a cordless phone, but I don't like that as much, because
you can't slam
down a cordless phone. You get mad at somebody on a real phone
- "You can't
talk to me like that!" Bang! You know. You get mad at somebody
on a cordless
phone - "You can't talk to me like that!" (Mimes fiddly button-pressing)