Where were you when Marisa Tomei’s classic Seinfeld episode aired? Probably on your parents’ couch (it was 1996 after all), but twenty years later, it’s *still* one of the funniest episodes of television ever. Such is the lasting influence of Marisa Tomei, whose killer performances have earned her three Oscar nominations—not to mention a role in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.
MarieClaire.com spoke to Marisa about the hilarious story behind her Seinfeld role (spoiler: she wants to make another TV show with Jason Alexander), breathing new life into Spiderman’s Aunt May, and her friendship with Gloria Steinem. Because yep, she’s still playing the feminist icon in HBO’s Ms., and we’re pretty sure it qualifies as the”role of a lifetime.”
Marie Claire: When I mentioned I was speaking with you to friends, the reaction was unanimously “Oh my god, you have to ask about Seinfeld.”
Marisa Tomei: I just got so lucky that they asked me to participate. I think it didn’t even have anything to do with me specifically, they just liked the way my name sounded. Because when I got there I did ask Larry David, “How did I get so lucky? How am I here?” He just said, ‘Well, when you say your name over and over it just has a really strong rhythm: “Marisa Tomei. Marisa Tomei.” Jason and I really want to do a show together—we just had such a good time on that, and we run into each other all the time and are like, “We should just do a TV show with us.”
MC: Now is totally the time for it; there’s such an interest in nostalgia. What do you make of your earlier work speaking so strongly to a millennial generation?
MT: We really really want that, just putting it out there into the world. But yeah, I am really touched and surprised that your generation feels that way, and I’m really happy the work stands up. But that show is going to stand up for all time: it’s one of the greatest things that has ever been written, and still speaks to the quirks of being a human being no matter what the era.