15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

You might not think that sporadically filming an elderly millionaire being rude to people for over 20 years would result in one of TV’s most beloved comedies — but here we are. With Curb Your Enthusiasm set to return soon for its 12th (and possibly final) season, we’ve collected some preetty, preeeettty good trivia about the show, such as…

It Began as a Bizarre Stand-Up Special

The unofficial pilot for the series came in the form of the 1999 HBO special Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, which combined footage of Larry David’s stand-up with “behind-the-scenes footage” of his life, including his “manager” Jeff and “wife” Cheryl. Originally, the mockumentary segments were only supposed to amount to around one-third of the finished product, but they ended up becoming the primary focus.

Before ‘Curb,’ Susie Essman Was in a Ninja Turtles Movie

One of the most indelible parts of Curb Your Enthusiasm is the foul-mouthed Susie Greene, played by stand-up comic Essman, who ‘90s kids may recognize from her brief appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

The Scripts Are Just Seven Pages Long

Most of Curb is famously improvised. How much is known in advance? According to Jeff Garlin (the real one, not the dead-eyed CGI monstrosity), each outline is around “seven pages long” presenting the story but “not very much of its dialogue.”

One ‘Curb’ Storyline Was an Old ‘Seinfeld’ Idea Jerry Vetoed

David claimed that an episode about a support group for survivors of incest was originally something he pitched for Seinfeld, but Jerry “vetoed” the idea.

David First Heard the Show’s Theme Song in a Bank Commercial

The bouncy Curb Your Enthusiasm theme is iconic; so much so that it’s now become the go-to musical accompaniment for any random instance of abject awkwardness. 

“Frolic” was originally composed for a “little-known Italian movie” called The Beautiful Summer, but David first heard it in a bank commercial. As he later recalled, “There was something circusy about it. I like to get away with things comedically, and sometimes music can help in that regard. It tells the audience: Don’t take this seriously; it’s just funny.”

Gina Gershon Was Cast After Drunkenly Roasting Denis Leary

Gershon’s guest spot as Anna the Hasidic dry cleaner, who nearly has an affair with Larry, came about when she appeared at the Comedy Central roast of Denis Leary. After realizing that the roast involved making fun of everybody, Gershon ditched her “sweet monologue” at the last minute, had some drinks, then “went after every one of those guys, just ripping them one by one.” Afterward, host Garlin told her, “That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. You have to do our show.”

Judge Judy ‘Frightened’ David

In Season Nine, Larry goes on Judge Judy over a stolen ficus plant. During the scene, the two are supposed to argue, but according to Judy Sheindlin, David responded to her taunts with silence. When the director asked, “Larry, what happened? You were supposed to argue with her.” He responded, “She frightened me.”

J.B. Smoove Threatened to Slap David During His Audition

It’s hard to imagine the show continuing for so long had they not added J.B. Smoove to the cast. Smoove, who was already a fan of the show, went to the audition in character as Leon. When he was asked to improvise with David, he said, “Okay, let’s improv… I don’t know, Larry, I might fuck around and slap you in the face,” which obviously impressed David. (Note: threatening to slap someone during an audition will probably never, ever work again, though).

‘Curb’ Was Used to Help Schizophrenic Hospital Patients Role-Play Social Situations

A North Carolina psychology student used Curb Your Enthusiasm to help an “unresponsive group” of schizophrenic patients, using clips to help them role-play “everyday social situations.” He found that Larry was the perfect proxy for a schizophrenic person” because he’s constantly “breaking the social rules that folks with schizophrenia often break.”

Larry’s Reaction to Krazee-Eyez Killa’s Rap Was Genuine

Chris Williams, who played Krazee-Eyez Killa, randomly pulled out a piece of paper and performed his new rap for Larry, which David “had no idea he was going to do,” meaning that his reaction to some of the more graphic lyrics is genuine.

Bea Arthur’s Performance as Larry’s Dead Mother Was Her Final TV Appearance

When Larry briefly dies and journeys to the afterlife, he’s reunited with his late mother, played by the legendary Bea Arthur. Amazingly, this scene, in which she berates her son for donating a kidney to his best friend in literal heaven, was Arthur’s final TV appearance.

David Tried to Write Himself Out of the ‘Producers’ Storyline

One of the best arcs of the entire series came when Larry was offered the lead role in Mel Brooks’ musical The Producers. David got the idea for the storyline after seeing the production and remarking that the cast “made it look so easy that it didn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility that I could play Max Bialystock.” After securing Brooks’ permission and beginning work on the idea, David saw The Producers a second time and realized that it actually “seemed impossible.” He tried to change the story to get out of it, but it was “too late.”

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 

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