By Caroline Fontein
Everyone knows Jason Alexander as “George Costanza” from the hit sitcom “Seinfeld” but his new show at Planet Hollywood stars a different character, Donny Clay, the world’s fourth-best motivational speaker.
“I think the average person who has never met me at all and who only knows me from ‘Seinfeld’ and nothing else would make the assumption that the guy that’s playing George must be very much like George… So to have me walk out on a stage and not be that character might be very shocking. Then I turn around and start singing and that could be even more shocking,” said Alexander.
He and his partner Peter Tilden first came up with the idea to use motivational speaking as a source of comedy when they created the sitcom “Bob Patterson,” which debuted in 2001. Then a few years ago Alexander was asked to come up with something that he could perform at corporate events. He thought that his spoof on motivational speaker seminars would be a good fit with business executives, and the character Donny Clay was born.
“He’s not based on any particular motivational speaker although the seminar, the style of the show, is similar in construction to the kind of things that Tony Robbins would do in a seminar,” said Alexander.
“The Donny Clay Experience” is based on the premise that the audience has come to see a motivational speaker, not a stand-up comedy routine. It features musical numbers, a lot of interaction with the crowd – just like a real seminar and partial nudity.
“You shouldn’t assume you know what that means until you’ve actually seen the show,” said Alexander.
While the show’s purpose is to entertain, the basis for some of the topics discussed in the show, like how to be in a romantic relationship or how to better your finances, are based on real things.
“Even though we are being silly about it some people do come up and go ‘I heard something that I might not have heard somewhere else tonight,’” said Alexander.
When he’s not performing, Alexander plans to indulge in one of his favorite pastimes – poker. He has played in various celebrity poker tournaments sponsored by his parent company Poker Stars.
“I like to play because I like the social aspect of the game. If I’m sitting at a table with a good group of people and we’re having a great time. That is just a fantastic way to spend several hours… It’s safe to say you’ll find me in a poker room several times a week, but don’t look at the high stakes table and come over to the table that’s laughing a lot,” said Alexander.
The show schedule is 7 p.m. Thu. – Sun. at Planet Hollywood for the following dates: Feb. 11 – 14, 25 – 28; March 4 – 7, 11 – 14. Purchase tickets here.