The Phone Message
The bad thing about television is that everybody you see on television is
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
face? Some people have a little too much fun on television: the soda
commercial people - where do they summon this enthusiasm? Have you seen them?
"We have soda, we have soda, we have soda", jumping, laughing, flying through
the air - it's a can of soda. Have you ever been standing there and you're
watching TV and you're drinking the exact same product that they're advertising
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."
Monk's Diner, day. George and Jerry enter. George is excited:
George: 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. Sometimes I
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.
Jerry: So you didn't ask?
George: No, I froze.
Jerry: (Points to counter) Counter.
George: 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.
Jerry: He said wuss?
George: Yeah. Anyway, he shamed me into it.
Jerry: So you called. (They sit at counter)
George: 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.
Jerry: Yeah, like a farm boy.
George: Right. So I call her up, I tell her it's me, she gives me an
Jerry: Wow. Enthusiastic 'Hi!', that's beautiful.
George: Oh, I don't get the enthusiastic 'Hi!', I'm outta there.
Jerry: Alright, so you're chewing your apple, you got your enthusiastic
'Hi!' Go ahead.
George: 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?"
George: She bought.
Jerry: Great day in the morning.
George: Then I got off the phone right away.
Jerry: 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.
George: 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
George: I can't stand doing laundry. That's why I have forty pairs of
Carol: You do not.
George: 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 and his
Jerry: (In awful Scots/Irish accent) Come on, try it. Let me hear you try
a Scottish accent.
Donna: That's Irish.
Jerry: Irish, Scottish, what's the difference, lassie?
Back to George and Carol:
Donna: So, er, thanks for dinner. It was great.
George: Yeah. We should do this again.
Donna: Would you like to come upstairs for some coffee?
George: Oh, no, thanks. I can't drink coffee late at night, it keeps me up.
Donna: (Looks disappointed) So, um, OK.
George: Yeah, take it easy.
(Donna leaves car. George realizes what he has done and bashes his
forehead in disgust)
Back to Jerry and Donna:
Donna: Thanks again for the movie.
Jerry: You're welcome.
Donna: I'd invite you up, but the place is being painted.
Jerry: Oh, that's OK.
Donna: Unless you want to go to your place.
Jerry: OK, but there's no cake or anything, if that's what you're looking
Back to George, driving, looking frustrated:
George: Take it easy, huh, take it easy.
Jerry's apartment. Jerry and Donna sit on the sofa:
Jerry: 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
Donna: Values are very important.
Jerry: Oh, so important. So what are you doing Thursday night - you wanna
Donna: Thursday's great. (Moves closer)
Jerry: (Looks at his pants) Tan pants. Why do I buy tan pants, Donna? I
don't feel comfortable in them.
Donna: Are those Cotton Dockers?
Jerry: Oh, I can't begin to tell you how much I hate that commercial.
Donna: Really? I like that commercial. (Jerry pauses)
Jerry: You like that commercial?
Donna: Yeah, it's clever.
Jerry: Now wait a second, you mean the one where the guys are all standing
around, supposedly being very casual and witty?
Donna: Yeah, that's the one.
Jerry: What could you possibly like about that?
Donna: I don't know, I like the guys.
Jerry: 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.
Donna: Hey, I know guys like that. To me the dialogue rings true.
Jerry: (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?
Donna: (Increasingly annoyed) That's the idea. That's what's clever about
it, that they're not talking about the pants.
Jerry: But they're talking about nothing.
Donna: That's the point.
Jerry: I know the point.
Donna: No one is telling you to like it.
Jerry: 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 other
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, thinking 'What
is he looking at? Do I want somebody looking at me like this for the rest of my
Jerry's apartment, day. Jerry and Elaine:
Jerry: I'm supposed to see her again on Thursday, but can I go out with
someone who actually likes this commercial?
Elaine: I once broke up with a guy because he didn't keep his bathroom clean
Jerry: No kidding. Did you tell him that was the reason?
Elaine: Oh yeah, I told him all the time. You would not have believed his
tub: 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, places
them on counter)
Jerry: You're still thinking about this?
George: (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 her. People
this stupid shouldn't be allowed to live. I can't imagine what she must think
Jerry: She thinks you're a guy that doesn't like coffee.
George: She invited me up. Coffee's not coffee, coffee is sex.
Elaine: Maybe coffee was coffee.
George: Coffee's coffee in the morning, it's not coffee at twelve o clock at
Elaine: Well some people drink coffee that late.
George: Yeah, people who work at NORAD, who're on twenty-four hour missile
watch. Everything was going along so great: she was laughing, I was funny. I
kept saying to myself "Keep it up, don't blow it, you're doing great."
Elaine: It's all in your head. All she knows is she had a good time. I
think you should call her.
George: I can't call her now, it's too soon. I'm planning a Wednesday call.
Elaine: Oh, why? I love it when guys call me the next day.
George: 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, a
kaiser, a tsar.
Elaine: All she'll think is that you like her.
George: Yes, she wants me to like her, if she likes me, but she doesn't like
Elaine: I don't know what your parents did to you.
(Kramer enters, points at Jerry)
Kramer: 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 anymore.
Someone's in a life-and-death situation, and we're thinking 'Well, sorry buddy,
you should've thought of that when you were eating cheese omelettes and sauages
for breakfast every morning for the last thirty years.'" So you gonna use it?
Jerry: I don't think so.
Kramer: It's funny.
Elaine: It is funny.
Kramer: That's as good as anything you do.
George: Alright, I gotta make a call. Everybody out, come on.
Jerry: Why do we have to leave?
George: Because I can't call a woman with other people in the room. Come
on, let's go.
Elaine: Oh, see, this is the problem.
Jerry: You're kicking me out of my house?
Elaine: Don't forget.
George: Oh Jerry, do you have any apples?
Jerry: Don't do the apples. That's enough already with the apples.
(Elaine, Kramer and Jerry leave. George removes jacket, dials phone)
Phone: Hi, it's Carol, I 'll get back to you. (Beep)
George: 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 ... well,
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)
Jerry: I'm just gonna get my jacket, I'll meet you downstairs. What's the
matter, did you call?
George: Got her machine. I'm dead, I'm a dead man. That's it. I'm dead,
I'm a dead man. Dead man.
Jerry: What did you say?
George: 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 blinking right
now: 'Come and listen to the idiot. Hey everybody, the idiot's on!'
Jerry: After one date you try and improvise on her machine?
George: Now I'm in the worst position of all.
Elaine: 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.
George: He did that?
George: Somebody did that?
Jerry: She'll call you back. You're overreacting.
Jerry's apartment. Jerry and Donna:
Jerry: Not once.
Jerry: I have never seen one episode of 'I Love Lucy' in my life ever.
Donna: That's amazing.
Jerry: Thank you.
Donna: Is there anything else about you I should know?
Jerry: Yes, I'm lactose intolerant.
Jerry: I have no patience for lactose. And I won't stand for it. Uhm,
I'll be right back. (Goes to bathroom)
George: Wait till you hear this (sees Donna). Whoa, ah, I'm sorry, I
didn't, I had no idea. (Goes to leave)
Donna: Wait, wait. He's in the bathroom.
George: I just wanted to talk to him for a minute, but I'll come back.
Donna: You don't have to leave.
George: You sure?
Donna: I'm Donna.
George: Donna. Oh, you're the one that likes that commercial!
Donna: He told you about that.
George: 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 that commercial.
No, he, he would never tell me anything like that. He never discusses anything.
He's, he's like a clam. You're not gonna mention this, to him.. (Jerry re-
Donna: (To Jerry) So you go around telling your friends I'm not hip
because I like that commercial.
Jerry: What? (To George) What did, what did you say?
George: Say? What? Nothing, I..
Donna: You told him how I like the commercial.
Jerry: Well, so what if I said that?
Donna: Well, so, you didn't have to tell your friends.
Jerry: No, I had to tell my friends, my friends didn't have to tell you.
George: (To Donna) Why did you have to get me in trouble?
Donna: I don't like you talking about me with your friends behind my back.
George: Boy oh boy.
Jerry: I said I couldn't believe you liked that commercial. So what?
Donna: I asked some friends of mine this week, and all of them liked the
Jerry: Boy, I bet you got a regular Algonquin round table there.
Jerry: Oh, Kramer, this is Donna.
k Oh. Cotton Dockers!
George: Hello! Alright, we should be going. Come on .(Grabs Kramer)
k What? Where are we going?
George: Come on!
Donna: Don't bother, I'm leaving.
Jerry: Donna, really, you're making too much of this.
K One hundred percent Cotton Dockers, if they're not Dockers, they're just
Jerry: Please, Donna.
Donna: I don't wanna hear it.(Leaves)
George: I can't believe I said that. You know me, I'm a vault.
Jerry: Don't worry about it, it wasn't working anyway.
k What happened there?
Jerry: I'll tell you later.
George: You are not gonna believe what's going on with this woman.
Monk's Diner. George and Jerry sat in booth:
George: 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
machine again: "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 nerve? You
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."
Jerry: You said that?
George: I lost it.
Jerry: I can't blame you. I can't believe she never called you back.
George: She did. Today.
George: 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
Jerry: So she didn't get the messages.
George: 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
Jerry: But what about the messages?
(George produces cassette tape from pocket)
Jerry: Elaine's thing? How you gonna get in?
George: I'll meet her outside the building.
Jerry: But you know as soon as she gets in the apartment she's going right
for that machine.
George: 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
Jerry: There's nothing to it. You lift the lid, it comes right out.
George: You do it for me.
George: Come on, it'll be so much easier.
Jerry: How you gonna get me up there?
George: I'll tell her I bumped into you, I'm giving you a ride uptown.
Jerry: And who makes the switch?
George: You do.
Jerry: I do.
George: I can't do it. I'll, I'll keep her busy.
Jerry: I can't get involved in this.
George: I think I may be in love with this woman.
Jerry: What if she sees me?
George: Oh, you are such a wuss.
Jerry: A wuss?
Jerry: Did you call me a wuss?
Outside apartment building, night. George and Jerry are sat on a low wall:
George: Well there is traffic. It might take her till eight-fifteen.
Jerry: 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.
George: A signal, right, erm, OK, er OK, the signal is, I'll call out 'Tippy
Jerry: 'Tippy Toe?' I don't think so.
George: You don't like 'Tippy toe?'
Jerry: No 'Tippy toe.'
George: Alright, er, OK I got it, erm, I'll sing.
Jerry: What song?
George: Erm, 'How do you solve a problem like Maria?'
Jerry: What is that?
George: Oh, it's a lovely song. (Sings) How do you solve a problem like
Jerry: Anything else?
George: You pick it.
Jerry: 'Lemon Tree'
George: Peter, Paul and Mary.
Jerry: No, Trini Lopez.
Both: (Singing) Lemon tree very pretty and a lemon flower
George: You got the tape?
Jerry: (Produces tapes) Standard. Micro.
George: How do you feel? Confident?
Jerry: Feel good.
George: You nervous?
Jerry: Not at all.
George: 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!
George: Hey! What are you doing here? I thought I was supposed to call you
when I got home.
George: I, I couldn't wait. I was too anxious to see you.
Carol: Oh, that's so sweet.
George: 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
Jerry: All the time.
Carol: It's nice to meet you.
Carol: So, I'm starving. Where are we gonna eat?
George: You know, we could go uptown, and that way we could give Jerry a
Carol: OK. Let's go, I'm ready, where'd you park?
George: Don't you wanna go upstairs first?
Carol: No, what for? I'll just give my bag to the doorman.
Jerry: You know, I really need to use the bathroom.
Carol: Oh well there's a bathroom in the coffee shop just next door.
George: Yes, yes, but er, I have to make a call, so...
Carol: Well they have a phone.
(George takes Carol to one side)
George: I know Jerry. He has this phobia about public toilets. I think we
really should go upstairs.
Carol: (Aloud) You know, I think I will go upstairs. I can check my
George: Right, right.
(They enter building)
Inside Carol's apartment. Carol, Jerry and George enter:
Carol: The bathroom's on the hall to the right.
Jerry: Er, you know, why don't you go first, you just had a long trip.
Carol: No, I'm fine.
Jerry: Uhmmm, you know, it's the damnedest thing, it went away.
Carol: Oh that's weird.
George: No, no that can happen. I've, er, I've read about that in medical
journals. It's a freak thing, but...
Carol: Well, let me just check my messages, and we'll go.
George: Uh, Carol, can I talk to you for a second? Right now.
George: Please, this is very, very important. (Leads her to other room)
(Jerry goes over to machine to switch tape)
George: (Shouts from other room) Uhh, tippy toe! Tippy toe! Lemon tree!
(Carol reappears followed by George)
Carol: (To Jerry) Now I know who you are. You're a comedian. I've seen
you, it's driving me crazy.
Jerry: Right. I am.
George: 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)
Jerry: (Shouts) Hey you two. I'm ready to go.
(George and Carol return)
Carol: That's what you had to tell me? Your father wears sneakers in the
George: (To Jerry) Don't you find that strange?
Carol: 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 my neighbour
called me and played my messages to me over the phone.
George: Oh, uhhh...
Carol: Yours were hilarious, we were both cracking up. I just love jokes
(All three leave)
Jerry's closing monologue:
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) "I