Finding the line between Larry David and the “Larry David” of Curb Your Enthusiasm is something of a fool’s errand. After channeling his own, inimitably prickly personal through Seinfeld’s George Costanza, David’s been giving people more or less direct access to his brain on Curb for over 20 years now. Portraying a sort-of fictionalized version of a cranky, contrarian comic legend whose penchant for saying what’s on his mind at the least opportune times makes for cringe comedy gold, David sat down with Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday to promote the long-delayed return of Curb, whose 11th season premieres on HBO on October 24.
Or should we say “slouched down,” as David sprawled nonchalantly in Kimmel’s guest chair, announcing his lack of interest in anyone’s prejudice against slouchers in general. (Cue Jerry exclaiming, “He’s a sloucher!,” in Seinfeld-ian amusement.) Regardless, David was there, and at least willing to acknowledge the Jimmy Kimmel Live audience’s barely reciprocated appreciation, something David has been know to withhold at the slightest provocation. Explaining to Kimmel that, during his stand-up days, he once took one look at an insufficiently attentive crowd and exited the stage with a dismissive, “Eh, I don’t think so,” David nonetheless seemed to be having what passes for a good time for Larry David. (He’s mellowed since his younger days, when, according to an anecdote in the Saturday Night Live oral history, he once followed a heckler and slugged it out in the parking lot.)
He also recalled how Kimmel had recently invited him to dinner at Kimmel’s house, how David had dutifully showed up, and then stood around annoyed because he couldn’t get inside. That he’d shown up on the wrong day (while Kimmel was at a funeral, no less), and that David consequently bailed on the subsequent (actual) dinner date seems like a Curb episode in the making. (Especially since David’s text response to his host telling him about the funeral was the perhaps less-than-sensitive, “Holy s**t!!! Hahaha.”) As David told Kimmel, shrugging, “I got it up once to do it,” noting to the audience, “I don’t really know him that well.”
And that’s what happens if Larry likes you. David explained that, for unlucky people who pay money to play alongside him at infrequent charity golf tournaments, the awkwardly silent four hours on the course represent, “the worst time they’ve ever had in their life.” And don’t get him started on his actual friends. Showing a Season 11 clip of David and real life best friend (“He’s very, very best-friend-y,” David conceded) giving each other guff while they’re supposed to be watching a politician’s speech, David said of fellow irascible stand-up Lewis, “He’s the only person in the world I could say that line to.” The line in question being onscreen Larry’s comeback to the real-life recuperating Lewis, “When are you gonna die? Would you please die?” Shown also at Fashion Week in a photo with his hands over his ears and a grimace on his face, David told Kimmel that, despite being an honored invitee of a friend/designer at the gala event, “The music was too loud.” Hey, at least David showed up.