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Curb Your Enthusiasm aired from October 2000-? on the HBO Cable Network.
Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, brought the same off-kilter but intelligent humor to this series about his own life after the show. Wealthy and well connected , Larry now had little to do so he ambled through life in Hollywood causing humorous problems wherever he went. Mild-mannered but completely oblivious to people's feelings, he inadvertently offended all sorts of people. Trivial events like a phone call, a trip to the movies or discarding a bit of trash quickly escalated into misunderstandings of immense proportions. Cheryl ( Cheryl Hines) was his long suffering wife; Jeff ( Jeff Garlin) his chubby, loyal manager ( often drawn into the predicaments Larry created); and Susie ( Susie Essman), Jeff's loud, profane wife who saw through all of Larry's excuses. Numerous stars appeared as themselves, most frequently neurotic comic and best friend Richard Lewis, also including Ted Danson, Wanda Sykes, ( as Cheryl's friend), Martin Scorsese, Alanis Morissette, Hugh Hefner, David Schwimmer, Dustin Hoffman, and Ben Stiller. Major storylines included Larry's attempt to develop a new television series for out of work actors Jason Alexander and Julia Louise-Dreyfus of Seinfeld ( 2001); opening a restaurant with a group of investors including Ted Danson ( 2002); working with Mel Brooks to star in a new Broadway production of The Producers ( 2004); and trying to find a kidney for Richard Lewis ( 2005).
Shot verite-style, the series was largely improvised , giving it a " real life" feel, full of awkward moments. Based on the 1999 HBO special " Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm."
A Review from The New York Times
TV WEEKEND; Sort of Like 'Seinfeld,' Sprinkled With Acid
By JULIE SALAMON
Published: October 13, 2000
A man goes to the movies with a friend. Before the show starts, he buys popcorn. On the way to his seat, he struggles to get past the woman sitting by the aisle. They both get huffy, and then she accuses him of looking at her breasts, which aren't entirely tucked inside her low-cut dress.
He insists that he wasn't looking. Then, as he squeezes by, he gives his parting shot. ''You wear that dress because you want people to look at your shoes,'' he says sarcastically. After the movie, the man discovers that the woman is dating his best friend.
This comic scenario built around obnoxiousness and rudeness -- and their consequences -- may seem familiar, almost like a scene from ''Seinfeld.'' That's because it's the work of Larry David, a co-creator of the popular sitcom. Now he has moved in front of the camera, as the star of a 10-episode comedy series on HBO called ''Curb Your Enthusiasm.''
''Curb Your Enthusiasm,'' which grew out of Mr. David's one-hour HBO special last year, may be even more idiosyncratic than ''Seinfeld'' because Mr. David is a very strange man -- and he's playing himself. It's easy to believe that when he was working as a stand-up comedian, his way of dealing with hecklers was to heckle back. No one could ever accuse him, a man who refers to the wife he loves as Hitler, of being ingratiating.
On ''Seinfeld,'' this cranky sensibility was filtered through likable actors. Here, nothing stands between the audience and Mr. David's acerbic vision and morose face.
There is every reason to despise the man, or at least to feel irritated by his narrowness and self-pity. Instead, for those who aren't immediately put off, Mr. David's comic brilliance becomes even more apparent in this unvarnished form. You find yourself laughing at the uncomfortable situations he creates for himself, and even sympathizing with him. Go figure.
''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' pretends to follow Mr. David's actual life, although Cheryl Hines (who plays his wife, Cheryl) and Jeff Garlin (who plays his manager, Jeff) are actors. Mr. Garlin is also one of the show's executive producers. Real celebrities will appear as themselves. Richard Lewis plays Mr. David's best friend in the first episode; Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and Julia Louis-Dreyfus will appear in later episodes.
The show is styled as cinema verite, with waggish musical interludes playing counterpoint to the deadpan humor. Mr. David lives in Los Angeles in a nice, spacious house, and he prefers driving to walking, but his New York neuroses remain intact.
He is embarrassed by sex and also obsessed with it, and since his show is on HBO rather than a network, the jokes are more explicit and the language is more profane. In one of the later episodes, pornography is the comic thread tying Mr. David up in knots.
''Seinfeld'' fans may experience ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' as either an alternative to reruns of their favorite show or commentary on them. Mr. David seems most like the relentlessly insecure George Costanza, but he is actually an amalgam of all the ''Seinfeld'' characters, whose lives were shaped by his special warp for several years.
In Mr. David's universe, suffering is the essence of life, so even success can be transformed into grist for humiliation and pain. When a restaurant hostess refuses to seat him and his wife because they've become a party of two instead of four, Cheryl informs the hostess that her husband Larry was a co-creator of ''Seinfeld.'' The hostess is unmoved. Things get worse when Larry's agent, Jeff, invites the couple to join the group at his table, where Cheryl learns about a lie that Larry has told.
Mr. David operates by a strict moral code, whose rules aren't always obvious but which seems to revolve around the notion that all deeds, good and bad, will be punished somehow.
In ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' he has used this glum principle to turn his life into a very funny comedy of comeuppance.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
HBO, Sunday at 9:30 p.m.
Written by Larry David; Mr. David, Jeff Garlin and Gavin Polone, executive producers; Robert B. Weide, supervising producer and director; Sandy Chanley and Tom Bull, producers.
WITH: Larry David (himself), Cheryl Hines (Cheryl) and Jeff Garlin (Jeff).
An Article from The New York Times
COVER STORY; So Nearly Everything Goes Wrong?
By ANITA GATES
Published: October 15, 2000
Larry David and his wife didn't want to go to the pornography star's dinner party. They called the man by accident (a telephone number mix-up) and accepted only out of courtesy.
On the evening of the event they get lost on the way, create ill will when Larry refuses to remove his shoes at the door and sit horrified at the table as their host tells graphic anecdotes about his sexual workday as casually as if he were recounting a computer system disaster. Then Larry breaks a lamp, which sends his hostess into verbal hysteria. So he says his awkward but polite farewells, reaches his car, assesses his wife's level of annoyance over the whole thing and, just as he's breathing a sigh of relief, realizes that he left his wristwatch inside.
And he begins to whine. ''I don't want to do a double goodbye,'' Larry tells his wife. But he has to. Because life is filled with angst and insecurity on Mr. David's new HBO comedy series, ''Curb Your Enthusiasm.'' And sometimes it gives names to phenomena that less creative people might observe a thousand times without acknowledging out loud.
What is the double goodbye if not a continuation in the grand tradition of ''double dipping'' (i.e., chips in salsa), ''shrinkage'' and mastery ''of your own domain''? Mr. David of course brought those terms to public attention as co-creator and executive producer of ''Seinfeld'' from 1990 to 1996. And what is ''Curb Your Enthusiasm,'' which has its premiere tonight at 9:30, if not the real ''Seinfeld'' spinoff? (In NBC's recast, reworked, rethought ''Michael Richards Show,'' the man who once was Kramer plays a private eye, of all things.)
In ''Seinfeld'' Jerry Seinfeld played a comedian named Jerry Seinfeld who lived in New York and had a colorful trio of friends. Mr. David was widely reported to be the inspiration for George Costanza (Jason Alexander), the hapless bald guy to whom everything bad seemed to happen. But his input was not limited to the travails of one character. In real life it was Mr. David, not Mr. Seinfeld, who had an eccentric neighbor named Kramer; they lived across the hall from each other at Manhattan Plaza, on 43rd Street at 10th Avenue. So if those eight years on NBC were about life as Mr. David saw it, how will his new series differ?
Well, the central character is married, rich and has premium cable's freedom of speech. (Some viewers may even miss the creative sexual euphemisms inspired by broadcast network policy.)
In ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' Larry David plays a television writer-producer named Larry David who lives in Hollywood and has a colorful pack of celebrity friends. Larry is the co-creator of a former megahit series called ''Seinfeld,'' as his wife points out when they are having trouble getting a table at a hot new restaurant. But that fact seems to do the fictional Larry little good. Unshaven and dressed in his workout clothes, he can't even get the saleswomen at a fashionable jewelry store to buzz him through the locked front door. And that's one of the least of the humiliations that befall him in the first few episodes.
''If you like a show where everything goes wrong, you'll like this show,'' said Mr. David, 53, in a telephone interview from his office in Los Angeles. But his own existence isn't filled with this much frustration, he contended. ''That's my COMEDIC view of life. It would be pretty tough to live like that.''
True. The fictional Larry has a movie theater contretemps with an obnoxious woman who turns out to be his pal Richard Lewis's new girlfriend; upsets his wife' friend Nancy by appearing to become sexually aroused by her; makes enemies of a Barneys salesman who did him a favor, a restaurant captain he didn't tip and his manager's parents (twice); becomes convinced that Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen have stopped speaking to him (why else wouldn't they call to reconfirm their date for the Paul Simon concert?); infuriates his wife by watching the last two minutes of a football game on television rather than welcoming her home properly after a trip; and is tricked into moving furniture for a blind man.
And that's only a sampling. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is scheduled to appear in one of the first season's 10 episodes, and she's sure to be annoyed with him, too.
''Larry has always been this kind of guy, where the world moves one way and he moves another,'' said Carolyn Strauss, HBO's senior vice president for original programming, who oversees the new series. ''It's the clash of that, that's always been a hallmark of his stand-up, and what influenced 'Seinfeld' so much.''
''You really get to see his struggles,'' she continued. ''And now that he's this incredibly successful guy, there's almost this whole new level to his comedy.'' Although the subject doesn't come up immediately in the show, the fictional Larry is presumably worth the $200 million-plus that the real Mr. David is said to have earned from his ''Seinfeld'' years.
Maybe all that money makes Mr. David confident enough to take a risk on an improvised show (he writes the outlines) starring a middle-aged bald man whose salient personality trait is uncertainty. He has written, of bald men, that ''we have to dress a little better, make a little more money and have a little more charm just to compete -- and we do.''
Mr. David, a born-and-bred New Yorker, hasn't always kept his face out of the spotlight. He began as a stand-up comic and worked as a writer-performer for ''Fridays'' and a writer for ''Saturday Night Live.'' In the 1980's he had small parts in Woody Allen's films ''Radio Days'' and ''New York Stories'' and Henry Jaglom's ''Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?''
And in the first year of ''Seinfeld'' he appeared uncredited as characters with names like Gum Guy, Man With Cape and Man on Raft. Later -- apparently having become camera-shy -- he played the voice of George Steinbrenner, when George Costanza worked for the Yankees. And his HBO special a year ago, which inspired the new series, seemed to prove that people enjoyed seeing a really rich man stumbling through life the way everybody else does.
''In one way he's this mature adult and then in another way he's this vulnerable -- almost like a teenager that doesn't fit in,'' said Cheryl Hines, who plays Mr. David's wife, Cheryl, on the series as she did in the special. ''He really notices all the small moments in life that are funny.''
''Everything about him is very subtle,'' she said. ''That's why this show -- I think some people are not going to get it.'' But she quickly added, maybe remembering just how many ''Seinfeld'' fans there are, ''A lot of people will.''
An Article from The New York Times
Liberties; Blubber For Breakfast
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: July 22, 2001
He's got an office by the ocean, even though he hates the ocean. He lives in L.A., even though driving makes him nuts. He goes to dinner parties, even though he can't stand socializing.
The way Larry David, an unpacific misanthrope on the Pacific, sees it, the outdoors ''is not a good place for bald people. I don't like the beach in particular. Hate it. Disgusting bodies walking around. I'd have to look at them. I don't really get this fascination that people have with the ocean. I mean, I stare at it for 10 minutes and I say, O.K., I get it. I feel aggravated that I'm missing what other people are getting.''
Mr. David, the dyspeptic genius behind ''Seinfeld,'' the Brooklyn-born former cab driver and stand-up comic who was a model for George Costanza, is now mining the narcissistic, neurotic nooks of his married life in L.A. the way he once mined the narcissistic, neurotic nooks of his single life in New York.
Unlike the fireplug Jason Alexander, the 54-year-old Larry is a rumpled crane of a guy in round glasses, khakis and running shoes. On his HBO show, ''Curb Your Enthusiasm,'' beginning its second season in September, Mr. David plays himself, an out-of-work ''Seinfeld'' creator.
''I've got ideas,'' he loftily tells his manager, ''but I choose not to carry them out.''
Every episode follows the same curmudgeonly, hilarious loop of arguing, offending, apologizing, insulting, avenging and arguing.
When a man confronts Larry as he romantically whistles Wagner to his wife, yelling that Wagner was Hitler's favorite composer and Larry must be a self-loathing Jew, Larry screams back: ''I do hate myself, but it has nothing to do with being Jewish,'' and begins whistling ''Springtime for Hitler.''
Instead of Manhattan's dating zoo of close talkers and double dippers, Larry has more domestic concerns: How revealing should you be with your wife, in case you get divorced and she blabs about you to the press? ''That's why I've never done anything remotely kinky with my wife,'' Larry says. ''I just treat her like an acquaintance.'' What is the cutoff time for calling friends at night? (It's 10 p.m., with a dispensation of an hour for good news.) How do you cope when your wife asks friends over? ''What is this compulsion to have people over to your house and serve them food and talk to them?'' he asks her.
When his wife drags him house-hunting, one homeowner proudly tells Larry that she can see whales cavorting from her oceanfront terrace.
''Can you shoot the whales from the terrace?'' he asks pleasantly. ''Because I like to have blubber for breakfast.''
He is still wrapped up in sour nothings, like whether you should stop seeing your therapist if you spot him at the beach in a skimpy Speedo, even though you need him to share such introspective moments as: ''So, I'm really happy with my new sneakers. You know, because they're gray. And when you think about it, it's a good color because white is really too bright and black is almost like a pair of shoes and gray is kind of right in the middle.''
Mr. David rarely does interviews, but recognizing a fellow dyspeptic, he came to my hotel here to have a beer.
''Driving over here,'' he confides, ''I noticed this stain on my jacket and I'm thinking, Is this a Go-Home Stain? Do I need to go home and change?''
He thinks that neurotic singles stop being funny on TV after 40 or 45.
And though he has two young daughters, he cut them out of his autobiographical show because he didn't think kids would work, given all the adult kvetching.
He recalls his days in ''a dump'' in Manhattan Plaza at 43rd and 10th Avenue. ''I was the McEnroe of stand-up comics,'' he says. ''I could be doing very well and I'd focus on somebody who was kind of sitting there and I would stop the show and say, 'THIS ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, SIR?' '' He still shivers thinking about dating: ''I never, ever showed up for a date without being in a horrible state of anxiety. . . . Women will take looks and money over a sense of humor any day. I was such a loser. Then when I became successful I never really had a chance to exploit it because that's when I met my wife.''
Larry had to go. So many tussles, so little time.
A Review from The New York Times
Television/Radio; The Necessary Absurdity of Larry David
By JULIE SALAMON
Published: September 30, 2001
IN tonight's episode of HBO's ''Curb Your Enthusiasm,'' Larry David is driving on a Los Angeles street when he notices the children in the station wagon in front of him waving and making faces. His normally morose expression brightens, and he responds with his own hand motions and funny faces. The children laugh and the game continues until Larry points his index finger at them in a mock gunfight.
The children stop laughing and the station wagon abruptly pulls over. The driver turns out to be a gigantic professional wrestler named Thor. Stomping back to Larry's car with a fervor worthy of the W.W.F., Thor unleashes a screaming lecture about the idiocy of playing violent games with children. ''Don't you ever point your finger at my kids again!'' he yells, concluding with a threat that can't be printed.
It's a hilarious scene, impeccable in its comic complexity and sophistication. In less than two minutes, it encapsulates the genius of Mr. David's comedy, which layers classic shtick with social commentary and a slyly dour worldview. Ordinary life baffles him and he can't understand why. After all, he lives by a set of rules whose logic is, to him, inarguable. ''I feel aggravated I'm missing what other people are getting,'' he says.
Mr. David's irreverence and his perpetual sense of dislocation struck a receptive cultural nerve in the 1990's with ''Seinfeld,'' the landmark comedy series he helped create. The adolescent self-involvement of Jerry and his pals -- their pettiness and glibness -- reflected uneasy truths about our way of life. Their nastiness gave the comedy bite. It was palatable to a mass audience because the characters, played by sympathetic actors, spoke to the darker side of human nature but almost always got their comeuppance. They were selfish but (occasionally) also rueful.
''Curb Your Enthusiasm,'' now in its second season, provides the unfiltered Larry David. The show is snarkier, subtler and even more of a tour de force than ''Seinfeld.'' Mr. David and his co-producers stage the weekly series as a pseudodocumentary, chronicling the life of Larry David, ''Seinfeld'' co-creator and bald, skinny crank, played by Mr. David, who is also a bald, skinny crank. The rest of the cast is a mix of actors and people playing themselves (including show business people like Richard Lewis, Jason Alexander and Rob Reiner). While Mr. David provides outlines for each half-hour show, and some dialogue, much is improvised. So although the show is carefully shaped, it also has the nervous energy of something being created on the spot.
It's a specialty act, one that critics (including this one) have adored but that audiences have approached warily. Last year, the show averaged a total of 4.9 million cable viewers an episode (for four weekly showings). No one would expect the kind of ratings ''Seinfeld'' received on network television, where it reached as many as 30 million viewers at its height. But ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' attracted less than half the audience of ''Sex and the City,'' HBO's cult comedy, which drew 12.5 million viewers an episode, also playing four times a week. But then, ''Seinfeld'' got off to a slow start, too.
The real question for ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' may be how Mr. David's ironic vision and insistent immaturity will play to an audience that was abruptly yanked into adulthood on Sept. 11. Will it still be funny to watch a man so enmeshed in his neuroses that, after seeing his therapist on the beach wearing a skimpy bathing suit, he decides to terminate therapy? What about the absurdity of watching Larry refuse to have a meeting that could be a good career move simply because he can't agree on where to hold the meeting? Who knows what the zeitgeist will be in the next decade -- or next week? Most likely something very different from the national sensibility that made ''Seinfeld'' a pop icon.
On the other hand, what could be more necessary than a good laugh? I've gotten a great deal of necessary pleasure looking at preview tapes of the first several episodes of the season. It's been a relief to take a break from the large, frightening issues that surround us and to concentrate on the minutiae that preoccupies Larry David. He's a brilliant curmudgeon, who pursues his notions of justice with far more fervor than sense. He becomes outraged when people tell lies, even small ones, like saying their sweaters are 100 percent cashmere. Yet he automatically lies rather than face an embarrassing situation. He's ridiculous and recognizable and strangely endearing.
The season's opening episode last Sunday confronted Larry's persistent problem. ''Seinfeld'' has made him incredibly rich and professionally esteemed, but he still seems as aimless and confounded as the characters he created. People keep confirming his sense that one person's conviction is another's absurdity. The only difference is that in this series his main character is married, middle-aged and wandering aimlessly through a Hollywood mansion instead of a New York apartment.
HIS wife (Cheryl Hines) wants him to go back to work, but he isn't eager to start another television show. One day, having lunch with his manager, Jeff (Jeff Garlin), he meets a friend of Jeff's, a Toyota dealer. Larry, who often seems dazed by ordinary human interaction, like ordering coffee or making small talk, comes to life. He begins interrogating the man about what it takes to be a car salesman. Then he declares that he always thought he'd be a good salesman. ''I'm very good at manipulating people,'' he says with great assurance.
The Toyota dealer is dubious, but when he finds out that Larry is the man who created ''Seinfeld,'' he's willing to go along. Larry is exhilarated. He shocks his wife the next day by putting on a tie and jacket instead of his usual baggy clothes. For him, the idea of having a regular job seems like a great adventure. He can play at being an adult while proving that it's ridiculously easy to be one.
It isn't, though. The sarcasm and hyperactive imagination that make Larry a great comedy writer are deadly in a car salesman. Customers can't flee from him fast enough. In another episode, which will be shown later in the season, Larry tries to help with a charity auction and ends up insulting the man who pays $4,000 to have lunch with him. The verities of conventional behavior simply elude him; when he does try to do the honorable thing, he inevitably does it wrong.
In almost every show, Larry tries to be a regular guy and is then thwarted by the rudeness, hostility and small-mindedness of other people. That's what he tells himself, anyway, though he's not entirely oblivious to his own shortcomings. It's just that he finds them more amusing than everyone else's. He's got that right.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on December 30, 2003
Larry David's 'Enthusiasm' proves contagious
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY
Get ready for the return of HBO's biggest social misfit.
Curb Your Enthusiasm, the improvised comedy back for a fourth season Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET/PT), presents the brash, sometimes unlikable world of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who plays a slightly exaggerated version of himself an irritable TV producer who is constantly, often innocently, putting a giant foot in his mouth. Unwitting snubs escalate into intricate social disasters of epic proportions. (Related item: Curb your need to rehearse)
Imagine Seinfeld's George Costanza a character David based on himself only a bit more domesticated. "The big difference is I have a good relationship and George Costanza never really did," David says. "He could never be married."
Curb, which began as a 1999 HBO special, has moved from a Hollywood-insider cult hit to a mainstream HBO treat: Curb's audience last season doubled to 4.5 million viewers, helped by its Sopranos lead-in. Along with David, Curb features Cheryl Hines as his loving but exasperated wife, Jeff Garlin as his agent, and a parade of celebrity guests, playing themselves, who endure David's ham-fisted attempts at etiquette.
"He's socially challenged, and he doesn't understand why he needs to follow the rules society has set," Hines says. "He just makes up his own."
A case in point in the season opener: Mel Brooks invites Larry to star with Ben Stiller in The Producers, only to see Larry refuse to shake his new co-star's hand after Stiller sneezes into it. Larry also engages in an agitated argument with a top doctor about why patients are forbidden to make calls from examining rooms.
Is Larry David like his TV alter ego? "The Larry David character is much more likable than I am," he says. "I love the character, and I cannot stand myself. He's more honest; he tells you what he thinks. He's just saying things a lot of us would like to say but can't because of normal social boundaries, and he seems to be able to step over those lines but not with impunity, I might add."
Says executive producer and frequent director Robert Weide: "The fictional Larry David is basically the real Larry David but slightly amped up for comic effect. He's closer to the Larry David I knew 20 years ago," before Seinfeld. Wealth and fame have "mellowed" the former stand-up comedian, Saturday Night Live writer and, with Jerry Seinfeld, creator of one of TV's classic sitcoms.
Previous seasons have centered on Larry's efforts to sell a new series to a TV network, and on plans to open a restaurant with Ted Danson and Michael York. Now comes Mel Brooks and The Producers, with Stiller and, later, Friends' David Schwimmer as foils. Seinfeld in a non-speaking cameo, David says will appear in this season's hour-long finale.
"People either love the show or they hate it," says Weide. "It's a very singular comic vision. People are now starting to see through Curb what a force Larry was in Seinfeld."
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION; Playing a Wife Who's the Other Woman
By NED MARTEL
Published: February 1, 2004
WHEN an actor portrays a real-life person, there's usually a clear distinction between portrayer and portrayed. But HBO's ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' hews so closely to the life and lunacy of Larry David that it imposes an awkward burden on the two women who must tolerate his daily woes. Cheryl Hines, who plays the environmental activist wife on the show, is often mistaken for Laurie David, Mr. David's actual environmental activist wife.
''I recycle!'' Ms. Hines said with an exasperated laugh over lunch recently at the Chateau Marmont, noting this sole similarity between blond actress and brunette wife. Other than that, the two women barely overlap and barely interact. Ms. Hines formed her version of the wife to Mr. David's curmudgeon character before she had ever met the real Ms. David, who refrains from offering Ms. Hines tips. The TV relationship showcases a balance of bickering and restraint that suggests years of negotiation; viewers often assume that Ms. Hines and Mr. David must actually be married. Instead, Ms. Hines is newly wed to another man, Paul Young, a talent manager and a producer of Comedy Central's ''Reno 911.''
Mr. David first met the bubbly Ms. Hines during her tryout to play his TV wife five years ago. They improvised dialogue from this jumping-off point: he was not going to eat chicken anymore. Ms. Hines was the only actress who turned neither soft nor shrill, and her lilting, joking admonitions caught Mr. David's imagination: ''She stood up to me but in such an amusing way that it made me smile,'' he said in an interview. It was a new feeling. ''My wife has much less patience with me,'' he said. Laurie David agrees: ''She's much more patient than I am and much nicer to him than I am,'' she says. ''His TV wife is his fantasy wife, in every way.''
Indeed, this 10-episode season, which reaches its halfway point tonight, has set up weekly trials of wifely tolerance that would seem painful if they weren't so ridiculous. The Cheryl David character displayed saintly patience when catching her husband sizing up another woman's breast implants. And in a recurring story line, she actually granted her husband one infidelity as a 10th-anniversary gift. Ms. Hines said that it appeared plausible only because her character let Larry flounder around, teasing him that he was a clumsy flirt who couldn't seal the deal.
''She doesn't want him to, but she knows he's not going to be rolling around naked with a strange woman,'' Ms. Hines said. ''He doesn't like to touch strangers. You know what I mean? The likelihood that he's going to get naked with one is smaaalll.''
The actual Davids recently celebrated their 10th anniversary, with no such extramarital privileges. Laurie David first met her future husband and father of their two daughters when he was a no-name, nebbishy comedian and she was a talent scout for David Letterman in his NBC days. After Mr. David's set at the Duplex in the West Village, she chased him onto the sidewalk, shook his hand and hoped to book his big break.
But even she couldn't get him on ''Late Night.'' She had sold Mr. Letterman on Harvey Pekar, of ''American Splendor'' fame, but as for Mr. David, ''Dave just didn't get his humor,'' she said.
Increasingly, she did. Their first kiss came a few years later. Sensing a suddenly escalating romance, she sat with a girlfriend in the Excelsior Hotel coffee shop and scribbled on a place mat the advantages and disadvantages of marrying Larry David. She recalls 2 pros and 10 cons, but they got engaged anyway, two weeks after that initial kiss. ''Basically I took a real chance on this guy,'' she said.
Suddenly, each got a Hollywood sitcom deal, and their friends placed odds on Laurie David's producing job with ''Get a Life!'' versus Larry David's writing gig for ''Seinfeld.'' ''Everybody thought my show was going to be a hit and his was going nowhere,'' she said. The opposite was true, and the transplanted New Yorkers married after three years in Los Angeles.
The ''Seinfeld'' phenomenon gave the Davids some financial freedom, and Laurie David dedicated time to raising two daughters, now 7 and 9. And through his new show, her husband found a way to pay tribute to his wife's environmental advocacy, which is now her full-time job. ''The best gift he ever gave me was making his character drive a hybrid car,'' said Ms. David, who serves on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council, drives an ecologically correct Toyota Prius, and this week will gather a celebrity-filled group of New York activists to discuss how to oust President Bush. Ms. David said that her activism sometimes makes her husband wish that she had never taken his last name. ''It's not sometimes, it's all the time,'' Mr. David corrected. ''She's costing me viewers.''
Around the time of the Davids' marriage, Cheryl Hines was relocating from her home state of Florida to Los Angeles. Tending bar and struggling for parts, she met the comedian Phil Hartman's sister, who recommended that she get her start at the Groundlings theater, where comics hone goofy sketches and vicious pop-culture parodies on their way to sitcom and ''Saturday Night Live'' stardom. The regulars at the bar pooled some money and Ms. Hines took her first Groundlings class. One instructor was Lisa Kudrow, then on ''Mad About You'' and eventually a star on ''Friends.''
The workshops involved tough love, and pretty, genial women like Ms. Hines had the most to prove. ''I was supposed to be a cave woman or something,'' she recalled. ''And I was in the middle of my improv, and my teacher shouted out: 'We know you're cute. C'mon! What else do you have?' '' That chiding question came from Mindy Sterling, the stern Frau Farbissina of ''Austin Powers'' fame, and although it stung, it opened Ms. Hines up to less pleasing portrayals. Soon she burst onstage as a draconian school nurse named Mabel and, later, as a pregnant belly dancer.
Still, roles eluded her, and she took a job as personal assistant to the director Rob Reiner and his wife, who kindly showed up for each of her Groundlings openings. Ms. Hines kept quiet about the open-call rigors and the no-call-back blues, and then shocked her bosses when she was cast as the wife of their friend, Larry David.
''Because I'm the girl that buys the bath towels for them!'' she said. ''And they've been friends for a long time with the Davids. So it was just a leeetle bit of a jolt.'' She suddenly had to become a character not unlike those she served, a couple with lives gilded by sitcom wealth. Ms. Hines was getting an education in one of the most prominent themes of ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'': the awkwardness of Hollywood social dilemmas.
That was five years ago, and now Ms. Hines has four seasons of ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' wrapped up, as well as one Emmy nomination, a new husband and a baby on the way. She met her husband on the Groundlings board of directors, of which he's chairman. Both come from humble backgrounds -- hers in Tallahassee, his in a Colorado trailer park -- and they celebrate their new lot in life by inviting friends to their Hollywood Hills home for ''chop night,'' when Ms. Hines serves up some tomato-smothered pork chops.
''It's much different to be in this town when you have money and you're not worried about every check that you write, that it won't bounce,'' she said. Ms. Hines has been told to expect to shoot at least one more season of ''Curb Your Enthusiasm,'' after her baby is born this spring.
In the meantime, she is working on another mama role, in NBC's animated ''Father of the Pride,'' about a family of performing lions in Siegfried and Roy's Las Vegas show. (The network is still proceeding with the series for this fall, despite the tiger attack that seriously wounded Roy Horn and closed the stage act indefinitely.) As a reward, she indulged in a recent splurge -- a decidedly un-David-like BMW. ''This is the first time in my life that I actually bought a new car,'' she said through giggles. ''And it was too hard for me to buy a Prius.''
An Interview with Jeff Garkin from NY Magazine
September 6, 2007
Jeff Garlin of Curb Your Enthusiasm Not Down With Fashion Week
Actor-comedian Jeff Garlin is in town this week on double duty he's promoting the sixth (and final?) season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which he plays Larry David's hapless manager Jeff, and his new movie I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, which he wrote, directed, and starred in (alongside Bonnie Hunt and Sarah Silverman). He spoke with Vulture about crappy movies, Fashion Week, and why he hates acting.
Your new movie looks adorable.
It's a big bowl of adorable.
Did you always want Sarah Silverman in it?
I wrote the part for her, yes. She was the person in it from the get-go. Good thing she said yes, and good thing she became a star.
And the new season of CYE starts Sunday! Are you excited?
I'm excited that it's really good. It's so exciting to have a movie or a TV show and know that people are going to watch it and not be disappointed. And I've done my share of crappy movies and different things, and, you know, it's really difficult to do interviews and promote something when it's not very good.
Any big guest stars this season?
Yeah, we have Ben Stiller, John McEnroe, and Vivica Fox. She's in all the episodes actually.
Vivica Fox, huh? Was it cool to have her on set?
Well, I didn't hang out with her. Professionally she was wonderful. I didn't hang out in her trailer or anything. I don't get excited with pretty actresses.
You're in New York to do press right now. Why come during Fashion Week?
I just need to get my fashions out there.
I'm assuming you aren't going to any shows.
I'd be the last guy on earth to go.
It's an interesting scene.
I'm sure it is. One that I could make fun of. But I really have no interest in that sort of thing. I read GQ and Esquire and that sort of thing. I like classic fashions; it just doesn't affect me as a 45-year-old man.
In your work, your fictional self gets called fat a lot, by your wife in CYE and your mom in the new movie.
Yeah, she says, "Don't wear that shirt, it makes you look fat." I say, "I am fat! If anything, I make the shirt look fat." That's actual dialogue between my mother and I in real life. I remembered it.
What did she think about your using it in the movie?
She didn't even notice because she's told me a million times that that shirt makes me look fat. That was the one time I had a response besides "Leave me alone, Mom!"
Is this the last season of CYE?
Well, I'm not going to direct anymore, but I won't be the jerkoff who stops doing it and stops the show. I'll keep doing it, but I think this is our last season.
Did you know it when you were working on it?
Yeah. I thought every year was our last season. It was supposed to be last season.
What will you do when it's over?
I can't stand producing; I can't stand acting. Well, maybe not can't stand. I prefer writing, directing and doing stand-up. Unless you're in a Coen brothers or a Martin Scorsese movie, or some really cool independent movie, acting is a drag.
How do you put up with it?
You get paid a lot. If I get paid a lot, I'm happy to act in any piece of crap.
An Article from USA TODAY
October 22, 2007
Larry David's divorce mirrored on 'Curb'
By Jake Coyle, AP Entertainment Writer
NEW YORK In the exaggerated mirror to Larry David's life that is "Curb Your Enthusiasm," even the comedian's own divorce is fodder for comedy.
Sunday night's episode of the HBO show was a classic case of art imitating life with the announcement by David's fictional spouse, played by Cheryl Hines, that she was leaving. It was just in June that David and his real-life wife, Laurie David, separated after 14 years of marriage.
The real-life divorce was filed by Laurie David, citing "irreconcilable differences." Their spokesman has called the split "very amicable." On "Curb," the breakup was set off when Cheryl called hysterically from a potentially crashing airplane. Larry told her to "call back in 10 minutes" because he was having their Tivo fixed by a cable guy.
Safe but still rattled, Cheryl returned to declare: "I'm leaving, Larry. I can't do this anymore."
"People ask me all the time, 'How do you stay with him?'" she explained. "I always tell them, 'There's another side to Larry that you don't see.' And then I just realized today, there's no other side."
Larry argued to no avail that the phone reception was bad and, besides, he was able to save her Tivoed shows like "Top Chef" and "Project Runway." The rest of the episode finds the couple's friends (some of whom are the REAL couple's friends), choosing sides between either Larry or Cheryl.
David has always pursued a realistic brand of comedy that pulls directly from life. He and Jerry Seinfeld created the NBC classic "Seinfeld" one night at a New York grocery, where they decided that their casual banter should be the show -- famously referred to as "a show about nothing."
Even that moment was eventually portrayed on "Seinfeld" when Jerry and George (the character based on David, played by Jason Alexander) decide to create a sitcom for NBC.
The origins of "Curb" were similar. While preparing for a comedy special on HBO, David's friend and comedian Jeff Garlin suggested that David have the entire process filmed.
A loosely scripted, naturalistic approach is now the "Curb" signature. Though his character bears his name and much of his life, David has always said it's an exaggeration -- who he might be if he had no manners or restraint.
Whether David's divorce would be reflected on "Curb" had been a matter of speculation. In an interview with The Associated Press in early September (after the season wrapped but before it hit the air), David played cagy when asked if his marital woes would seep into the show.
"Can't fire Cheryl," he replied.
Asked if perhaps the fictional couple might feel increased discord, if not collapse, David said: "There's something there, obviously. I wouldn't shy away from dealing with it, if I do another year."
Now David's divorce has made its presence felt, and the following episodes will help determine whether his on-screen marriage still has any chance. A spokesman for HBO said the split would indeed constitute a full arc.
Both Larry and Laurie David, in real life, declined to comment.
An Article from Fox News
Published October 28, 2009
Comedian Larry David pushed the mocking of religion and Christian belief in miracles over the edge in the latest episode of his HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
On Sunday's installment, David's character urinates on a painting of Jesus Chris, causing a woman to believe the painting of Jesus is crying.
The president of the Catholic League Bill Donohue responded to the episode saying David should "quit while he's ahead," and that the show is proof that the comedian's best years are behind him.
"Was Larry David always this crude? Would he think it's comedic if someone urinated on a picture of his mother?" Donohue said in a statement released Monday. "This might be fun to watch, but since HBO only likes to dump on Catholics (it was just a couple of weeks ago that Sarah Silverman insulted Catholics on "Real Time with Bill Maher") and David is Jewish, we'll never know."
During Sunday's episode, David, who created, wrote and produced "Seinfeld," visits a bathroom in a stranger's home and splatters urine on a picture of Jesus. Instead of wiping it off, David leaves the restroom. Minutes later, a woman enters the bathroom and concludes that Jesus is crying before summoning her mother to the bathroom, where both women kneel in prayer.
"When David and Jerry Seinfeld (playing himself) are asked if they ever experienced a miracle, David answers, "every erection is a miracle," Donohue's statement continued. "That's what passes for creativity these days."
Calls to HBO seeking comment were not immediately returned Wednesday.
The episode, "The Bare Midriff," primarily revolves around David's assistant and her belly-revealing attire. According to the show's Web site, a "new pill" increased David's urine flow, leading to the "misunderstanding about a miraculously weeping Jesus."
HBO promoted the controversial scene on the show's site, complete with a "squirm-o-meter" that ranked the urine incident ahead of David's confronting his assistant about her exposed midriff.
An article from digitalspy.com
October 28, 2010
Larry David has claimed that he would be happier if he was more like the fictionalised version of himself that he plays in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
The writer and actor told The Guardian that he appreciates the honesty of the character and also did not originally think that the show would make people uncomfortable.
David said: "I don't find the character to be cranky or rude. I find the character to be honest. And honesty comes off as cranky or rude, I suppose.
"But that character is way happier than I am. I'm cranky. He's not cranky. I'd be much happier if I were more like him."
He added: "I never thought for a second that anything I ever did was going to make someone cringe. That never occurred to me. When people started to tell me that sometimes they had to leave the room, I didn't even know what they were talking about.
"I thought people would want to stay and watch it. Because it's funny. Not that it's so painful to them that they have to leave. But, you know, I don't mind that. I kinda like it."
To watch some clips from Curb your Enthusiasm go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=curb+your+enthusiasm&aq=0
For a Website dedicated to CYE go to https://web.archive.org/web/20080905181421/%20www.curb-your-enthusiasm.cjb.net/
For some CYE-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/curb-your-enthusiasm
For Reviews of CYE go to https://www.avclub.com/c/tv-review/curb-your-enthusiasm
� Date: Mon April 2, 2007 � Filesize: 31.2kb � Dimensions: 506 x 315 �
Keywords: Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Happy Couple