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Soup Nazi

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NO SOUP FOR YOU! COME BACK ONE YEAR!
~ The Soup Nazi
Yev Kassem, best known as the Soup Nazi is the titular main antagonist of the Seinfeld episode of the same name.
Larry-thomas-is-the-seinfeld-soup-nazi

Character

The Soup Nazi was portrayed by Larry Thomas, who was nominated for a 1996 Emmy for the role. Thomas, who did not realize that the character was based on a real person, received the inspiration for his portrayal from watching Lawrence of Arabia and studying Omar Sharif's accent.

A stone-faced immigrant chef with a thick Stalin-esque moustache, he is renowned throughout Manhattan for his soups. He demands that all customers in his restaurant meticulously follow his strict queuing, ordering, and payment policies. Failure to adhere to his demands brings the stern admonition ("No soup for you!") whereupon the customer is refunded and denied his or her order. He will then yell at the top of his lungs to the next person in line, "Next!" Elaine parodies this when she reveals that she has his recipes. She says to him, "You're through, Soup Nazi. Pack it up. No more soup for you. NEXT!"

The Soup Nazi has a cameo in the Seinfeld series finale, in which his name is revealed to be Yev Kassem. He also reacts as he always does when Elaine insults his soup at the court.

Inspiration

The character was inspired by Al Yeganeh, a New York City soup vendor who runs Soup Kitchen International in midtown Manhattan at 259A West 55th Street, near 8th Avenue, and The Original Soup Man chain of restaurants throughout the United States.

According to an Associated Press article published April 29, 2005, Yeganeh planned to open a chain of soup stores called The Original Soup Man. The first franchise opened in Princeton, New Jersey, on October 24, 2005. His company, Soup Kitchen International, plans to open 1,000 outlets nationwide. Soup Kitchen International's original West 55th Street location was closed for many years but re-opened July 20, 2010. Al was not at the location on opening day. Before the episode was written, much of the cast of Seinfeld (including Wayne Knight) had been to Soup Kitchen International. After "The Soup Nazi" had aired, Seinfeld and several writers went to Yeganeh's soup stand for lunch. Upon recognizing Seinfeld, Yeganeh launched into a profanity-laced rant about how "The Soup Nazi" episode had "ruined his life," and he demanded an apology. Seinfeld gave what show writer Spike Feresten described as "the most sarcastic, insincere apology" he'd ever heard. Yeganeh bellowed "No soup for you!" and ejected Seinfeld and his friends from the restaurant.

According to Nora Ephron's DVD commentary, the first pop culture reference to Yeganeh (though not by name) seems to have come years before the Seinfeld episode, in the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle. In the film, a magazine writer discusses writing a story: "This man sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten, and he is the meanest man in America. I feel very strongly about this, Becky; it's not just about the soup." Cosmo Kramer's inspiration, Kenny Kramer, mentions on his own website that he agrees that Yeganeh's nickname is unfair. He jokingly suggests his nickname be changed to "Al, The Soup Rat Bastard."

The Best of The Soup Nazi03:59

The Best of The Soup Nazi

Clip from the show.

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