Patrick Warburton has breathed life into some cult roles over his 25-year career as a character actor -- Kronk in "The Emperor's New Groove," the title role in the live-action version of "The Tick," "NewsRadio's" Johnny Johnson -- but perhaps no character has been as iconic as Elaine's sometimes boyfriend David Puddy, a mysophobic, Arby's-loving, diehard New Jersey Devils fan.
Anybody that watched classic "Seinfeld" episode "The Face Painter" will no doubt remember Puddy's devotion:
Also awesome: when he hissed at a minister.
But, while David Puddy is a diehard Devils fan, Warburton, who grew up in Huntington Beach, Calif., is a Los Angeles Kings fan. With both teams in contention for a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, he runs the risk of being at odds with ... himself.
He still feels a fond connection to Jersey's hockey franchise. Warburton has noticed that the Los Angeles Kings may be on their way to this season's Stanley Cup; as a kid, he attended a bunch of Kings games. But rooting against the Devils would be tough, he admitted.
"Yes, it will certainly tear at my allegiances," Warburton said. He wondered out loud if he could get away with painting his face half Devils red, half Kings black.
"Can you do that?" Warburton asked. He decided he could not. Puddy would never face paint like that. It's wrong. You know, support the team.
Glad to see Warburton employing the common sense. Franken-facepaint is a face foul.
If the Devils and the Kings meet in the Stanley Cup Final, things could get very interesting. Through the Puddy character, Warburton has become a Devils icon.
The Devils have been using "Seinfeld" video clips as part of their in-arena entertainment for nearly 20 years. Warburton was invited to drop the puck at the Devils' banner raising in 1995, leading to one of the awesomest moments in the history of ceremonial puck drops in New Jersey.
Moments after the banner was raised, Patrick Warburton, the actor who portrayed a fanatic Devils' fan in a segment of the "Seinfeld" television show, was called upon to drop the puck. With his face painted in Devils red and black, the native of nearby Paterson dropped the puck, then stripped the Brodeur jersey he was wearing to display the letter D on his chest. It was an instant and popular replay of his "Seinfeld" segment, which is often shown on the scoreboard screen over center ice.
As "Puddy" recalled to the WSJ:
Before that 1995 puck-dropping ceremony, the Devils asked Warburton if he'd do them a favor: Would he paint a D on his bare chest? The actor resisted; he was already painting his face and wearing a team jersey.
But Warburton relented, and it turned out to be a wise move. After dropping the puck during a red-carpet presentation, Warburton was stepping across the rink when he slipped and nearly fell, only to regain his balance. Sensing an awkward moment, he ripped his shirt off.
"I was so thankful I had that D painted on my chest," Warburton said. "The whole place went crazy."
But if he's at the Staples Center in Kings garb, how will that look? How can Devils fans look at Warburton the same way again if he's seen cheering for the opposition in a Stanley Cup Final?
Are the Devils in danger of losing a pop culture icon?
s/t to Sportress of Blogitude.
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