Jerry Seinfeld and 'Soup Nazi' Larry Thomas to Reunite This Summer — And Yes, There Will Be Mulligatawny
"I love that guy," Thomas says of Seinfeld
There is perhaps no more iconic episode of television than Seinfeld‘s “The Soup Nazi”—and now, fans have a chance to relive it in real life.
Comedy Central’s Colossal Clusterfest, a festival that takes place June 2-4 in San Francisco, will feature Jerry Seinfeld as a headlining act, with Larry Thomas (who played the Soup Nazi) in the food section slinging soup in character.
Though Thomas hasn’t been in touch with Seinfeld since the two reunited for an Acura commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl, he tells PEOPLE that he’s “very excited” about the opportunity, and has nothing but glowing praise for the comedian.
“I love that guy,” he says. “When I first met him, he gave me some alternate direction in the callback for the episode. Then, when we were filming, he came up to me on the set and said ‘Hey man, forget about everything I told you, just do what you did when you walked in.’ That’s the Jerry I always talk about. The guy who was seven seasons in, one of the most powerful men in the industry telling this nobody actor that my idea was better than his.”
Thomas will be serving (or not, depending on customer behavior) the most memorable soups from the episode, including Mulligatawny, Crab Bisque, Turkey Chili and Jambalaya. “I hope the fans are brave enough to play with me,” he says. “I’ve done many personal appearances due to Seinfeld and the character, but only once through all the years was there a couple brave enough to make out in line. So I’m hoping for that moment.”
It’s been 22 years since the episode aired, but the actor still gets recognized whenever he goes out—and he’s even noticed it penetrating into the pop cultural lexicon outside the context of the show. “The character himself has taken on a life of his own,” he says. “I have people coming up to me saying ‘Oh the Soup Nazi! No soup for you!’ and then they tell me they’ve never even seen Seinfeld before.”
In fact, Thomas has made a lifetime career out of a character who was on screen for six minutes in total, regularly reprising the role at autograph conventions and writing a book, Confessions of a Soup Nazi.
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And while some character actors get fatigued of the role they’ve become known for, Thomas is nothing but grateful. “It’s hard to sum up because not a day goes by without some Soup Nazi reference happening to me,” he says. “And I’ll tell Jerry again when I see him at Clusterfest, ‘I make a career in your name. My family is supported on your name.’ There was one life before Seinfeld, and a totally different life after.”