In A Shocking Plot Twist, Jerry Stiller Was Almost In “The Sopranos”

NY Post- Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa really have delivered “the definitive oral history” of “The Sopranos” in their new book, “Woke Up This Morning.”

The tome weaves interviews with dozens of cast and crew members (and series creator David Chase) for an unprecedented, dishy, behind-the-scenes look at the iconic mob drama, which aired on HBO from 1999-2007 with star James Gandolfini as troubled North Jersey mobster Tony Soprano.

The nearly 500-page book, which borrows its title from the show’s theme song by Alabama 3, is comprised of interviews, both from “Talking Sopranos” — the popular podcast hosted by Imperioli and Schirripa — and from deeper-dive interviews by the duo. Imperioli played Tony’s “nephew,” Christopher Moltisanti; Schirripa played Tony’s (eventual) brother-in-law, Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri (both characters met bloody ends).

“This isn’t a book about the podcast,” said Schirripa, 64, who spoke to The Post about “Woke Up This Morning” along with Imperioli. “We talked to a lot of people again. There’s so much material. On the podcast, we go scene by scene; in the book, it’s season by season, so it’s completely different.

What a great Sopranos read this morning from the New York Post about Michael Imperioli & Steve Shirippa's new book about the oral history of the Sopranos. There were some tidbits that most Sopranos fans have heard before like the time our king Gandolfini divided $500k amongst 16 cast members for sticking by him during a contract dispute, Steven Van Zandt nearly being cast as Tony, and Lorraine Bracco nearly being cast as Carmela though turning out due to it being all too similar to Karen from Goodfellas which is very fair.

Though I was absolutely SHOCKED when I saw this little except about Jerry Stiller potentially being the man who would play our beloved Hesh.

“Seinfeld” star Jerry Stiller was initially hired to play Tony’s unofficial “consigliere,” Hesh Rabkin. “He wound up backing out at the last minute because he got a commercial right before we started shooting the pilot,” Imperioli said. Jerry Adler went on to play Rabkin.

Now this is a show that had someone that never really acted from the E Street Band join it on the main cast and do well, but I truly don't know if I could picture Jerry Stiller doing a serious role solely for him being one of the funniest fucking people ever. Frank Costanza and some of the Sopranos in the same scene though? It has potential....

Picturing this man yelling at Paulie for just wearing PUMA Sweatsuits over & over again.

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Or whenever there's a dispute with other folks they could've made him lead in with this…

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Maybe we could've gotten behind it! Either way now all I could think about is what could have been when it comes to this. Truly one of the more wild "what-if" acting scenarios in some time.