We watched the Frazier episodes again on DVD a while back. Pierce is soooo funny. He seems to have figured out how to play Niles from the very beginning. Some of his looks or mannerisms could crack me up with no dialog.
I think that his comedy style hearkens back to that of Jack Benny (and Johnny Carson had mastered it as well, a HUGE fan of Benny) who had such amazing comedy timing, that his pauses (and looks) were as funny or funnier than his lines. Benny was often at his funniest not saying anything.
He was the greatest, and I think Pierce does something similar.