Susie Essman Reveals the Key to Working with Larry David

The real Larry is a lot more ‘sensitive’ than his TV character
Susie Essman Reveals the Key to Working with Larry David

Collaborating with TV’s fictional version of Larry David seems like an aggravating ordeal. Throughout the 12 seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm, we saw that working with Larry can result in heated arguments over meeting locations, uncouth discussions of private matters, and, in the case of Ben Stiller, taking a kebab skewer right in the cornea.

But working with the real Larry David is a decidedly different beast, as Susie Essman, who, of course, played the foul-mouthed Susie Greene on the show, recently revealed on WTF with Marc Maron.

Essman praised David as “lovely,” but then stopped herself from adding any further compliments because “he hates when I talk about how great he is.” Which would explain why he just kind of awkwardly shuffled off the set of his own show while the cast and crew were singing his praises on the last day of filming Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Maron recounted that, on the rare occasions that he has crossed paths with David, who is currently booked to be a guest on a future WTF episode, he seemed “sweet.” But Maron also claimed that it’s pretty prettttty hard to separate the fictional Larry from the actual guy. “You can’t help but feel like you’re in an episode (of Curb Your Enthusiasm),” Maron confessed, “because your brain just frames every minor encounter (in the context of the show).”

Essman agreed, but noted that the real David is a far cry from his TV persona. “He’s much more sensitive than the character. He’s much more sensitive to how he’s making other people feel,” she explained. 

According to Essman, one of the few issues she had with David was his intense mental focus during filming. “When you’re working with him, he’s in his head a lot because he’s thinking about comedy. We’ll have whole conversations, and I’ll just look at him and say, ‘You didn’t hear one word I said.’”

By that token, David’s not one for indulging other performers’ insecurities while on set. “To get along well with him in a work environment, you can’t be overly sensitive or needy. Because he’s not gonna give you that. But, you know, once you know that, you’re fine,” Essman told Maron.

Essman also outed David as the worst cast member when it came to breaking, especially during scenes in which her character verbally abused him, which he loved. “I don’t know who I represent to him, I’ve never wanted to go there, but it must be like some third grade teacher or somebody who berated him or yelled at him,” Essman speculated. “The minute I yell at him, he just gets the giggles”

Essman also shared that, not unlike David, she is also frequently meeting people who confuse her with her Curb character. “They want me to tell them to go fuck themselves,” Essman explained of most fan encounters. “This is what my life has become — people walk up to me and beg me to curse at them.” 

Which sounds pretty awesome, to be honest. 

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