Wayne Knight on Playing Santa Claus in the ‘Elf’ Musical and What It’s Like Being Newman

I imagine that about six or seven times a day somebody comes up to Wayne Knight and says, “Hello, Newman” in an annoyed voice.  So perhaps he’s lucky that in his latest role that face of his that became famous on Seinfeld is hidden behind a long white beard.  That’s because Knight is playing Santa Claus in Elf, the holiday musical based on the Will Ferrell movie which is returning to New York after a one-year hiatus.

Knight might seem like an odd fit for musical theater, and he talks about that to the New York Post along with how he feels about being so associated with Jerry Seinfeld‘s nemesis.

Being that Elf is a musical, Knight jokes about his singing ability, saying, “It’s kind of like natural childbirth — something comes out; we can’t guarantee what it looks like. But Santa is not a dulcet-toned character, so it should be OK.”  But how about the dancing?  Knight says that part isn’t too tough either, saying, “The requirements on me are minimal, and I’m just barely adequate. I just kind of naturally, uh, suck. No. Everybody’s going through a tap number that Santa’s not part of. I told my wife, ‘Geez, I feel bad. I’m not doing enough in this number.’ She said, ‘You should tell them. They’ll let you into that tap number.’ I said, ‘Honey, we’re doing nine shows a week. Shut up.'”

As for his most famous role, Knight admits that while playing Newman for so many years has made it difficult for audiences to accept him in other roles, he can’t complain about how lucrative it has been.  He says, “It makes it much more difficult when someone sees you as a particular character to disappear in a film. They see you as Newman. It is a mixed blessing in that sense. But in the sense that it’s brought me income and notoriety, no, it’s fine.”

Leave a Reply

William H. Macy: “This may sound pretentious, but I am getting better at what I do every day”
"I love the fact that I work every day." - William H. Macy
Luke Hemsworth on ‘Westworld’: “It was a no-brainer to me. I was absolutely going to jump onboard”
"As an actor, if you're given very little information about what's going on, then you're forced to make it up." - Luke Hemsworth
Khary Payton on His ‘Walking Dead’ Audition: “It was one of the more substantial auditions I’ve ever done”
"I always say I’m in the hope business. You’ve got to stay hopeful. You’ve got to get up off your behind and try again..." - Khary Payton
Hayley Atwell’s Best Career Advice: “I’d say the main thing is: show up. Show up and be professional”
Atwell reflects on her career and recounts why she wanted to become an actress since she was a child and what was the best career advice she ever received.
Mike Colter on Playing ‘Luke Cage’: “I was looking at it from the standpoint of an artist”
Colter says that it didn't take long for him to understand the importance of the character in comic book history.