Screenshot: The Iconic "Seinfeld" Theme Song Was Totally Improvised

Seinfeld was revolutionary in a lot of ways: Its focus on daily minutiae; the lack of a moral center; and a strong, single female character chief among them. All the while, however, there was something quietly innovative unfolding during the opening credits. Sure, anybody could recognize that signature slap-bass riff, but what most don’t know is that, like Jerry’s girlfriends, it changed from episode to episode.

In a new video from Great Big Story, Seinfeld composer Jonathan Wolff reveals how he rewrote the theme every episode to suit the stand-up footage used in the show’s opening credits. Luckily, the task wasn’t as annoying as it sounds. Wolff found a tempo to Seinfeld’s delivery, which allowed him to create a simple riff that could complement his jokes and even hold for laughs. “I can architect each piece of music for each monologue, Lego-style,” he says.

There are some other fun tidbits in there, too, such as a story about the network’s distaste for the song and a Larry David impression that somehow sounds like Bullwinkle J. Moose.