Newman (Wayne Knight)
Hello, Newman. If there’s one person Seinfeld fans love to hate, it’s Jerry’s comical, bizarre, distrustful nemesis Newman. Created as Jerry’s arch-rival, Newman adds a curious dimension to the show. It has never been revealed to the show’s audience as to the reason behind Jerry and Newman’s animosity toward each other, but it’s assumed it’s because Jerry is “undeservingly” famous and Newman is not—which makes Newman very unhappy. Jerry Seinfeld (Newman Enemy #1) is amused by his antics, but frequently gets annoyed as well. The circular pattern of their relationship is never-ending, but viewers get a kick out of their rivalry and their dynamic adds another twist of element to the show’s plot.
Newman, the character
Newman considers Jerry to be quite undeserving of his fame—after all, for Newman, Jerry is unfunny, sour, and sinister. Interestingly, Jerry feels the same way about Newman. Alas, the downward spiral. It’s fun to hate Newman because he’s the show’s primary source of fun-spirited evil. Of course, Seinfeld fans secretly love Newman and his comedic contributions to the show, but boy—is it fun to watch those two go at it!
As a constant threat to Jerry, Newman is hated because he’s a constant annoyance. He’s doing annoying things like attracting fleas to the apartment building and not delivering mail on time. He works hard to make Jerry’s life harder.
Sometimes, however, Newman makes some surprise gestures that even please Jerry, if not for just the moment. For instance, Newman (Seinfeld episode “The Blood”) helps Jerry out, despite Jerry’s reluctance and fear for some ulterior motive. In “The Soup Nazi” Newman also comes to the rescue and work on the scheme together—arguably as friends (or shall we say “frenemies?”)
When push comes to shove, Jerry is victorious in their wit-entailed battles. Newman rarely wins, which of course, makes him all the more angry, embittered, and annoyed.
Wayne Knight, the cast member
Wayne Knight, pre-Seinfeld
Wayne Knight was born on August 7, 1955 in New York, New York. His works include silver screen successes like Jurassic Park, Toy Story 2, Basic Instinct, and Space Jam. He also had a prominent film role in JFK by Director Oliver Stone.
While he played Newman, Knight also played Officer Don Oroville in the successful TV series 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Wayne Knight, post-Seinfeld
Wayne Knight still enjoys television success, mainly by providing voiceovers for animated shows like Catscratch (a Nickelodeon favorite), Xiaolin Showdown, and Tak and the Power of Juju.
If not voicing animated shows, Knight has kept busy with primetime shows Thank God You’re here and he has made appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm as well.