Reminiscing Jerry Stiller through Festivus, his comedic holiday gift for the rest of us

Jerry Stiller, who passed away on Monday at the age of 92, has provided us so many comic presents to be thankful for, inclusive of his splendid stand-up work with his wife Anne Meara; his scene-stealing work on “The King of Queens” and “Seinfeld”; and his son Ben Stiller. 

Apart from all the gifts, the late performer has presented us with, the beloved comedian’s most unforgettable present-arguably his best- is a holiday or maybe an anti-holiday: “Festivus, for the rest of us.”

Stiller’s Frank Costanza described and celebrated Festivus, which he made as a response to the commercialization of Christmas, in “The Strike,” that aired on Dec. 18, 1997, in the hit sitcom’s ninth and final season. 

A lot of “Seinfeld” fans now enjoy the holiday, inspired by Dan O’Keefe, the father of the “Seinfeld” writer. The prime decoration, the rituals,  the Festivus pole, inclusive of “Feats of Strength” and the unique “Airing of Grievances,”  have turned out to be pop culture ideals all by themselves. 

Nothing less than a “Seinfeld”  expert than Jerry Seinfeld marveled at the lasting impression of Festivus in a 2019 interview with USA TODAY saying: “I think the biggest surprise to all of us was the staying power of Festivus. I think that completely surprised us. When I bump into any of the other writers, we’re all shocked by that.”

For Stiller fandoms, it is and will always be a standout amongst so many comic gifts that we can enjoy by remembering him, no matter the date on the calendar. 

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