How To Write The Darkest 'Seinfeld' Script Ever

When "Seinfeld" went off the air, the terrotist attacks of 9/11 had yet to occur, so unknown comedy writer Billy Domineau wrote a horrifyingly funny "Seinfeld" 9/11 script. NBC/Getty

Billy Domineau ultimately wrote the darkest possible Seinfeld spec script for the same reason that George Costanza flew to Ohio to unveil his "jerk store" put-down, Kramer turned his living room into a talk show set and the entire foursome opted to engage in "the Contest." "I did it as a personal exercise," says Domineau, 27, a semi-employed comedy writer who lives in Los Angeles, "to see if I could do it."

On the morning of August 2, Domineau posted a link to a 44-page Seinfeld script, titled "The Twin Towers," on Twitter. Domineau, a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, imagined an episode in which the four Seinfeld cast members found themselves in the somber haze of a post-9/11 New York City. Because the classic NBC sitcom went off the air in 1998, the series never dealt with a Manhattan that had been riven by the worst attack on U.S. soil.

"That show would have been in a better position to tackle it than any other sitcom because of their unsentimental approach to comedy," says Domineau, who grew up in Norfolk, Massachusetts, located roughly halfway between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. "I'm not sure the network would have let them, though."

Domineau posted his script at 10:45 a.m. locally in Los Angeles and then headed out the door for an 11 a.m. tutoring appointment. By the time he returned home a few hours later, the script had gone viral, and with good reason: It's hilarious and reads as if it had been written by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld themselves. "I showed a friend the first 15 pages a few months back," says Domineau, who has written with sketch comedy ensembles since college. "He said, 'This is phenomenal; why are you doing this?'"

The tale of "The Twin Towers" dates back to March, when Domineau was sitting in the Coffee Bean on LA's Wilshire Boulevard with an aspiring female comedy writer. The young woman was taking a sketch comedy writing course from the Upright Citizens Brigade, a well-known sketch and improv troupe (Don't Think Twice, which is currently showing in theaters nationwide, is roughly based on this outfit). The assignment was an exercise in bad taste, and Domineau was helping her out.

"I told her that you can't do this halfheartedly, that if you are going to do this type of humor, you have to go all in or not at all," he says. "For example, there's a script floating around Hollywood in which everyone on Friends is HIV-positive. Then I said, 'Imagine if there was a 9/11 episode on Seinfeld. Let's explore that for a few minutes.'"

Billy Headshot
Domineau, 27, spent months crafting his script, although the actual writing took no more than 10 hours. Julia Sherman

At first, Domineau offered the student a chance to pursue the idea, but after a week or two elapsed he reclaimed it. Within a couple of days, Domineau had all four storylines locked down: Elaine is dismayed to learn that a boyfriend she had planned to dump and who worked in the World Trade Center survived; George is mistaken for a heroic first responder; Jerry becomes obsessive-compulsive about the ubiquitous dust; and Kramer, well, he wants to be reimbursed for a tool that he had loaned to one of the hijackers.

"Initially, I thought Kramer would sell authentic ground zero dust," says Domineau, who as a child faithfully watched all three syndicated episodes of The Simpsons that aired daily in the Boston and Providence markets. "I was in the shower a couple days later, and the line came to me: 'My crazy friend Mo Atta….'" he continues. "I liked that Kramer would know Mohamed Atta as 'Mo.' I came out of the shower and recited the line to my roommate. He was wonderfully horrified. I knew I was onto something."


You remember my crazy friend Mo Atta?


The guy you fish-sit for when he goes to Florida? What about him?

If all of this sounds wildly inappropriate, well, it is. Then again, The Producers, which tangentially made sport of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, was released in theaters in 1968, just 23 years after World War II ended. It was seminal New Yorker and humorist Woody Allen who once wrote (though he gave the line to Alan Alda to say in Crimes and Misdemeanors), "Comedy is tragedy plus time." Who is to say how much time?

"I've always been interested, after the attack, when can we start finding humor around 9/11," says Domineau. "And I realize that once I sent this script out into the internet, it's a pop culture landmine. Who's to say that this doesn't get picked up by Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh?"

Of course, the most offensive thing a comedy can be is not funny. Domineau's script, Seinfeld devotees will find, channels the four main characters' sensibilities in pitch-perfect fashion. It also includes cameos by Newman, Jackie Chiles, Mr. Steinbrenner, Frank and Estelle Costanza and even Uncle Leo ("Your cousin Jeffrey was a hero in Central Park. He tackled a halal vendor operating without a license"). Not one of them feels contrived.

"I will never attempt to mitigate or shy away from anyone's response to this script," says Domineau, who since releasing the script has found a manager and is taking meetings with a few TV writing staffs. "You can stand in front of me for an hour and scream at me. What I won't allow you to do is to tell me what we cannot talk about, because then we're just one step away from 'freedom fries.'"

Almost all of the reaction that Domineau has received from the web has been favorable. One man wrote to tell him that he'd lost his best friend in the 9/11 attacks, but that the victim was a huge Seinfeld fan and would have loved his script. "By no means do I take for granted that I live in a society that allows me to put something like this script out there without any fear of reprisals," says Domineau.

In that regard, his script is a potent and defiant counterattack to the events of 9/11.

Read the full script here.