24. Real Enthusiasm
If Larry’s wife Cheryl seems genuinely surprised and disgusted when being presented with Larry’s latest lies, that’s because she is! Cheryl Hines, who plays Larry’s wife Cheryl on the show, is never given the full plot of the show in advance, in order to keep her in the dark, so that her reactions to David’s lies and other antics are more realistic.
23. Surprise Role
When Cheryl Hines auditioned for the part of Cheryl, she was a somewhat unknown actress whose background was in improvisational comedy, from her time as a member of the Groundlings. As a result, Hines did not expect to get the part, stating “I wasn’t very stressed out about the audition, because I thought ‘It’s not going to happen.’” A mere four hours after reading for the part, Hines got a call that she’d won the role.
22. Pretty, Pretty Happy (But Not Too Happy!)
In order to be as true to real life as possible, David didn’t want his TV marriage to appear to be “too happy.” David explains: “I don’t want to see anybody that happy, because it makes me a little sick. I’m trying to strike the balance that you believe the marriage, that they really like each other, but he’s really not that happy.”
21. Long-Lost Friends
Larry David and comedian Richard Lewis, who plays a version of himself on the show, attended the same summer camp when they were both 12 years old. Lewis remembers that the two did not necessarily get along as young teenagers, stating that “I despised the guy, and he hated me.” Lewis and David didn’t see each another for another decade before reuniting when they were both part of the New York comedy circuit.
20. Circus Theme
The rollicking, iconic Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music is called “Frolic” by Italian composer Luciano Michelini. It was originally used as a theme in a 1970s Italian film called La Bellissima Estate before sitting dormant for years. Larry heard the theme in the background of a bank commercial and immediately liked it, later stating “There was something circusy about it. I like to get away with things, comedically, and sometimes music can help in that regard.”
19. Mutual Fans
In one Curb episode, Larry brings basketball star Shaquille O’Neal a set of Seinfeld tapes while O’Neal is recovering in hospital, following an injury suffered as the result of Larry’s clumsiness. Shaq remarks to Larry that the Seinfeld episode “The Contest” is his favorite episode from the entire series. “The Contest” was written by Larry David and is considered one of the best episodes in the show’s history.
18. Naming Rights
Most of the main characters in the show play characters with the same name that they have in real life: Larry plays a fictional version of Larry David; Jeff Garlin as Jeff Greene; Cheryl Hines as Cheryl David; and Susie Essman as Susie Greene.
17. Smoove Move
J.B. Smoove, who plays Leon on Curb, chanced into the role while attending a friend’s funeral in L.A. Smoove, whose writers’ contract at Saturday Night Live was not renewed, went on the road doing stand-up comedy with a quick detour to LA to attend his friend Oji Pierce’s funeral. While in LA, Smoove was sent on a whim by his agent to the Curb audition. The rest, as they say, is history.
16. Twice Named
The title Curb Your Enthusiasm has a dual meaning. The first is an ode to David’s previous television venture, Seinfeld—as in, people should not expect it to be the second coming of the most widely acclaimed comedy show in history. The second is an ode to David’s life philosophy that “people should keep enthusiasm curbed in their lives. Always keep it. To not is unattractive. It’s unseemly.”
15. Art Imitates Life
In the seventh and eighth seasons of the show, Larry separates from and then gets divorced from Cheryl. This mirrors real life events in David’s life that he integrated into the show. David got divorced from his real wife, Laurie David, in 2007.
14. Curbed His Enthusiasm
Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry’s agent, confidant, and fellow-troublemaker, Jeff Greene, is no fan of the character he plays on Curb. In one interview Garlin laid into his character, stating that “He’s an idiot. He’s not a good guy. He wants to get laid constantly, by anyone, any time. He wants to please his clients. That’s all he works on … I’m a decent guy so there’s some niceness underneath. I have no respect for this guy. He’s a buffoon, that’s all.”
13. Ideal Larry
The character Larry David on the show is based on an idealized version of how Larry David wishes he could act during social interactions. David describes the character as “my version of Superman. The character really is me, but I just couldn’t possibly behave like that.”
12. Stroke of Luck
At the start of the filming of the first season of Curb, Jeff Garlin was still recovering from the after-effects of a stroke he had recently suffered. Garlin credits the structured demands of filming a weekly television show with his full recovery from the injury.
11. Graceful David
Despite his reputation as not the most delicate or socially gracious person, Larry David will not joke about another characters physical attributes or their appearance on the show unless given explicit permission beforehand. For instance, Jeff Garlin explicitly permits David to refer to him as “fat” on the show and make that a consistent plot point of reference.
10. First Shot
In its original incarnation, Curb Your Enthusiasm was to be a one-time special mockumetary filming Larry David’s return to stand-up world following the closing of the book on Seinfeld. So much for that!
9. Haters Gonna Hate
While Jeff Garlin and Larry David’s relationship in the show seems natural, it wasn’t always that way between the two comedians. Garlin remarks that when he first met David (post-summer camp, that is), the only reason he knew that David may like him was because David didn’t openly detest him.
8. Lost and Found
The actor Jorge Garcia, who played Hurley on TV’s Lost from 2004 to 2010, actually got his start acting in a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. In the episode “The Carpool Lane,” Larry attempts to procure some marijuana for his sick father from a portly drug dealer played by Garcia. Apparently, one of the creators of Lost saw Garcia in this episode and immediately went to the show’s casting exclaiming “get me that guy!”
Susie Essman, who plays Jeff’s incendiary wife Susie Greene on the show, is a career stand-up comedian who has done stand-up specials on Comedy Central as well as appearing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Aside from her comedy career, Essman had only minor acting parts in films prior to landing her role on Curb.
6. Fan Favorite
Essman’s most notable role by far is as Susie in Curb. Essman has said that by the time of the airing of the third season of Curb, she couldn’t walk down the street without someone coming up to her and asking her to repeat her famously crass epithet hurled towards her husband: “Jeff, you fat f***!!”
5. Larry the Therapist
Curb Your Enthusiasm is a critic’s favorite but it also the favorite of another profession: therapists. That’s right! Curb has been chosen by some therapists as the best TV program to show to persons suffering from schizophrenia to help them learn social skills. One therapist considers Larry David’s character the “perfect proxy” for someone suffering from schizophrenia. So, ultimately: don’t do what Larry does.
4. Fake Reunion
In the seventh season of Curb, Larry makes a Seinfeld reunion show with the original cast. In real life, David had long refused to participate in a reunion show. Why then did Larry agree to do it on Curb? Because he thought it would be funny, of course! David says it “was a perfect way to do something like that but not to do it. Under the guise of doing the Curb show, it was very relaxed and loose and easy.”
3. It’s All Made Up
No script is written before the taping of each episode. All the actors have is a very detailed outline of the plot, upon which the actors all improvise. Because of the heavy improvisation, it takes seven or eight takes to film each scene.
2. Unwritten Principle
Due to its improvisational nature the show has no writing credits—save for the single credit of “Story by Larry David.” During the Seinfeld reunion show in the seventh season, this was changed in the faux show to “Story by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld” as a nod to the former Seinfeld writing partners.
1. Curb Your Incarceration
Even though it’s the modern day show about nothing, Curb Your Enthusiasm has in fact served a much higher purpose. Let me explain. In May 2003, Martha Puebla was shot to death outside her home in LA. A few months later, the police arrested Juan Catalan for the murder and placed him behind bars pending trial. If convicted, Catalan would have been up to receive the death penalty. Catalan’s alibi for the day the murders took place was that he was at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game. While no TV footage was able to confirm his alibi, Curb was filming an episode at the stadium that very day. A look back at the footage filmed that day quickly proved that Catalan was at the stadium and the case against him was promptly dismissed.
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