Seinfeld: Jerry’s Shadiest Burns, Ranked


In Seinfeld, Kramer is the wacky one, filled with bizarre notions about everything, Elaine is stubborn to a fault, while George’s neurotic beliefs are practically pathological. Jerry, on the other hand, considers himself a mere observer of the events taking place around him, and rarely invests in his friend’s emotional narratives. In fact, one of the reasons he enjoys their company is so he can amass more stand-up material for his shows.

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Jerry’s comedy isn’t limited to his career, though, as he often makes some of the wittiest remarks heard on Seinfeld. Humor aside, he is evidently capable of delivering several choice insults that provoke the live audience into a laughing frenzy. His verbal attacks are direct, concise, and sometimes even directed at himself.

10 “Who Goes On Vacation Without A Job? What Do You Need A Break From, Getting Up At Eleven?”

After George quits his job, he spends his time whining about his lack of career prospects/money/dating life, pretty much anything he can think of. His constant complaints bother the other three characters, but they try their hardest not to make life worse for him (to a point, anyway.)

However, when George plans out a vacation, Jerry is stunned by his decision, claiming that all he does is sit at home in his underwear and relax, that he doesn’t need to take a break from anything, except, perhaps, his nervous antics.

9 “That’s The True Spirit Of Christmas; People Being Helped By People Other Than Me.”

Elaine informs Jerry that she would be involving herself as a Church volunteer for the Christmas season, which prompts the comedian to gleefully deliver this quote.

It suggests that he doesn’t care about the holidays in any sense, not even a spiritual one, as he clearly refuses to force any sort of public responsibility on himself. Jerry believes that the spirit of Christmas exists, and should continue to do so, but only as long as it has nothing to do with him. Beautiful, inadvertent self-burn, this.

8 “People On Dates Shouldn’t Even Be Allowed Out In Public.”

In one episode, Elaine moans about wanting to marry someone just to avoid the humiliation of being seen on dates (which rarely go anywhere), adding that she suspects others are able to discern the nature of her outing with a man.

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Jerry heartily agrees with her, claiming that anyone on a date should keep all related activities within the bounds of one’s home, because it is both “embarrassing for them” and “painful for us to watch.” To be fair, just because he feels ashamed at taking a woman out doesn’t mean that others feel the same way.

7 “Cheapness Is Not A Sense.”

George starts ranting about giving people gifts for all sorts of inane (according to him) reasons when Elaine suggests that they give Joe Mayo a massage chair from Bloomingdales for his new apartment.

He rejects this option, citing it as too expensive, and offers to purchase it on his own, because he has “a sixth sense” about great deals. Jerry takes this opportunity to cattily remind his friend that being cheap doesn’t count as a sense. Insults don’t stop a man like George, though.

6 “You Know How To Take The Reservation; You Just Don’t Know How To Hold The Reservation.”

Jerry’s attempt at renting a “mid-size” car is rebuffed by the agent, who paradoxically accepts his earlier reservation, but later confesses that they have none left. He is annoyed by the irrationality of this statement, insisting that “the reservation keeps the car” for the person who makes it.

When the lady haughtily asks him not to explain how reservations work, he further states that holding the car is “really the most important part of the reservations”, and that she has no idea what she’s talking about.

5 “Salad! What Was I Thinking? Women Don’t Respect Salad Eaters.”

It is unclear at whom this burn is directed, but one can safely assume that it is based on the notion that masculinity is somehow related to eating meat (and a large quantity of it.) His date, Holly, asks the waiter for a “porterhouse medium rare” steak, but Jerry prefers to eat “lighter” asking if the restaurant has anything other than the lamb chops and the chicken, “stuffed with ham, topped with gorgonzola.”

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He finally chooses to order a salad, but his inner monologue admonishes him for this act, which is later confirmed when Elaine tells him that Holly found his dietary decision strange.

4 “A Little Too Much Chlorine In That Gene Pool”

At one point, Elaine and Jerry go to the Hamptons to meet Carol (and see her newborn), who is apparently horrifying to look at. Both of them find the ordeal agonizing, and quickly escape the baby’s room to discuss how it was “the ugliest baby” ever.

At this point, Jerry says that the appearance of the child might have something to do with parental genetics gone awry. As hilarious as this mixed metaphor is, it’s not really fair to say such a thing about a baby.

3 “That Is One Magic Loogie.”

Kramer and Newman despise Keith Hernandez, the baseball player, for allegedly spitting on them after they harshly criticize his performance, but Jerry fully doubts the veracity of this storyline.

He says that “the immutable laws of physics contradict” the story, going so far as to describe the literal impossibility of such an event taking place given the angles of contact involved. He calls it “one magic loogie” in the most condescending tone he can muster, which, in this case, is fully deserved (and spectacularly funny.)

2 “Oh, I Guess You Don’t Want People Calling You At Home? Well, Now You Know How I Feel.”

Most people in the nineties were painfully experienced with the incessant and troublesome calls made by telemarketers making one random offer after another, and Jerry has had enough of it. When one of them phones him and asks if he would “be interested in switching over to TMI long distance service”, he pseudo-genuinely tells them to give him their “home number” to continue the conversation another time.

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The telemarketer declines to do so because they “don’t want people calling [them] at home.” Here, Jerry proudly announces that they “know how I feel”, and sassily cuts the call.

1 “Hello, Newman.”

Although it may not technically be a burn if used by any other person in existence, these two words coming out of Jerry’s mouth are filled with the brimming hatred and disgust he has for his neighbor, Newman.

The way he enunciates the line is the most important facet of this insult, as he slows down on the first word but rapidly recites the two syllables of the second in quick succession. In addition, Jerry sometimes curls his upper lip, exposing his teeth, a visual indication of how Newman’s existence makes him feel.

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Updated: January 8, 2021 — 4:00 am

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