Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.
TV URBAN LEGEND: A character on Seinfeld was named after a Producer of Smallville.
Reader Taylor wrote in to ask:
For years I’ve seen the name “Joe Davola” as a producer on Smallville. There was also a character on Seinfeld (And we know how Jerry loves Superman) named “Crazy” Joe Davola. He wants to kill most of the gang, and goes nuts over Elaine, even dressing up as a clown in a creepy performance of “I Pagliacci.”
Any chance any aspect of the Seinfeld character was based on the real guy?
Yes, it is true, the character “Crazy Joe Davola,” who appeared throughout the fourth season of Seinfeld…
was, indeed, named after Joe Davola, a television producer…
who later produced Smallville.
However, the character has nothing to do with the “real” Joe Davola.
You see, a fairly common occurrence at Seinfeld was to work actual people from the TV industry into the show. Basically names that Jerry Sienfeld and Larry David found interesting.
Joe Davola was one such name, and so was Lloyd Braun (the real Lloyd Braun was Larry David’s lawyer, and eventually became a major television executive, even heading up ABC Entertainment for a few years)…
So was Alec Berg (who was a writer on Seinfeld)…
They even point out on the episode where a character named after Alec Berg appears that Alec Berg is a “good John Houseman name -‘Alec Beerrrrg'” (can’t you just imagine Houseman calling on that name in the Paper Chase?)
In any event, while it IS cool that a guy who got a character named after him on Seinfeld (whose star is a BIG fan of Superman) was later a producer on a show about young Superman, that has nothing to do with the name being used on the show.
The legend is…
STATUS: True (although, of course, the timing is a bit different than that)
Thanks to Taylor for the question!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org