‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Turns 20: Why the Comedy Is Still Prett-ay Great
No one makes us cringe (and laugh) quite like Larry David on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. In the acclaimed comedy, which premiered October 15, 2000, the Seinfeld cocreator plays a semifictionalized “Larry David,” a curmudgeon whose ill-timed gaffes, petty grievances, oddball hang-ups and constant kvetching leave viewers and his onscreen wife, Cheryl (Cheryl Hines), squirming and cracking up.
The cast is signed up to film an upcoming 11th season, and the full series is available to stream on HBO Max. Here’s a look at some of the most awkwardly funny Curb shenanigans.
When Larry, seated courtside at the Staples Center, mistakenly trips and injures Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal in “Shaq” (Season 2, Episode 8), he’s booed by fans and hated by everyone in L.A. But Larry finds unexpected benefits to being a social pariah. “Nobody wants to have anything to do with me,” he says with a widening grin. Even his annoying in-laws promptly end their visit to the David household, and he’s freed from normal social obligations. Yet when Larry shows up at Shaq’s hospital room with a gift of Seinfeld videotapes, even Shaq can’t stay mad!
Most Memorable Guest Star
Many celebs have appeared as heightened versions of themselves, including Michael J. Fox, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Wanda Sykes. But none riles Larry like Ben Stiller. He’s indignant when Ben, his castmate in a Broadway staging of The Producers, throws himself a belated birthday celebration (“Ben’s Birthday Party,” Season 4, Episode 2). So Larry mocks him for expecting presents after saying “no gifts” and refuses to sing “Happy Birthday.” Then, while demonstrating a golf swing at the party, he — accidentally — stabs the actor in the eye with a wooden skewer!
Most Terrifying Nemesis
Larry’s antics never fail to provoke intense reactions from the colorfully profane Susie (Susie Essman), wife of his best friend/manager, Jeff (Jeff Garlin). She flies off the handle at the slightest hint of disagreement and relishes tossing Larry out of her house. Once, he heckled Jeff and Susie’s daughter for her off-key singing at a party and tried to make her sit down (“The Hot Towel,” Season 7, Episode 4). Watching Susie blow her top is always pure comedy gold.
In Season 10, Larry takes his grievances to a new level. After complaining about the cold coffee and stale scones at Mocha Joe’s, he’s banned from the shop and begins a season-long feud with the owner (Saverio Guerra). As retaliation, Larry opens a competing shop, Latte Larry’s, next door. In the finale, his java joint is featured in a Today segment about the celebrity “spite store” trend, alongside Jonah Hill, Sean Penn and Mila Kunis, who all set up businesses near proprietors who angered them. Larry and his nemesis get their comeuppance when a fire sparked by a self-heating mug engulfs both stores!
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seasons 1-10, Streaming now, HBO Max