Larry Thomas ('The Soup Nazi')
"I had the mustache already. I hadn't shaved in a couple days, and I got the phone call: There's a character named the Soup Nazi and they want a Middle Eastern accent, and there's nothing on paper other than that. So I went home, and the first thing I did was take my videotape of Lawrence of Arabia and pop it in there and listen to Omar Sharif talk to get the accent.I had an old Army shirt and some green pants and a beret, and I got dressed up like that for the audition; I looked like Saddam Hussein."
"Then I just ad-libbed what I thought the Soup Nazi might be like. I was trading ideas with a comedian friend of mine, and came up with 'You, small fry, get to the end of the line. No soup!' I really liked the 'No soup!' thing. So I went in for the audition, and there were a couple other guys dressed in aprons and t-shirts, and I thought, 'Oh god, it's either gonna go one way or the other.' There were actually three scenes written when I auditioned, and sure enough, in the very first scene, the character says 'No soup for you!' I thought, 'That's a coincidence.'"
"During the callback, Jerry was laughing so hard. But later, he asked 'Why are you playing the character so mean? Maybe lighten up, give him some hills and valleys.' So I tried it that way — and Jerry didn't laugh at all. After I got that part, I showed up for the taping and Jerry approached me: 'Forget about the direction I gave you. Do what you did when you came in. The meaner, the funnier.' For a guy with that kind of power to be as open to something other than his own ideas, that's really rare."
"I couldn't be more surprised to this day about the Soup Nazi's popularity. At the table read, the character everyone was really laughing at was Yul Vasquez as the armoire thief. He had all of them on the floor, including me, so I thought he was going to be the real breakout character. People say to me 'How come you don't mind saying "No soup for you" or being called a Soup Nazi?' They think it's some sort of magical thing about my attitude; it's not. The Soup Nazi is a lot cooler than I am. It's not like Urkel, where it might be embarrassing for you to be doing it years later. The Soup Nazi has held up on such a hip level. Everybody still loves it."