One of the many things I enjoyed about Seinfeld were the monologues that popped up every now and again. Not the ones Jerry opened the show with, but the ones within a show. Nobody held forth in comic fashion for extended periods on sitcoms, unless it was a Very Special Episode or something. So the speeches were a treat; the fact that they were a riot was the icing on the cake.
The following are my five favorite monologues on the show; one for each of the four leads, and one for a guest. It wasn't planned that way; I just happened to like all this best, and in this order.
For number 5, we have Elaine trapped in the subway. The swears she absolutely cuts loose with were such a surprise the first time I saw this, and ensured that this belongs in the top five.
Number 4; Jerry's JFK-inspired deconstruction of the day when Kramer & Newman were spat upon. Incidentally, this was the very first "Hello, Newman."
Number 3; Kramer tells about his rescue of a severed toe. I saw this on a cross-country flight once; it was a treat to hear an entire plane laugh. I love his little hip-sway as he says, "Now I'm drivin' the bus!"
Number 2; George's immortal description of his treatment of a beached whale. The one lady's whoop at the reveal is a great moment in studio audience history.
What could possibly top that? Only Philip Baker Hall's guest turn as Bookman, library cop. Jerry can't keep a straight face; I can only imagine how many takes the whole thing took before he could get this much under control.
As anybody who's seen the movie Hard Eight knows, Hall's a tremendous dramatic actor as well. If you can find his one-man performance as Nixon in the Robert Altman film Secret Honor, it's totally worth your while.