Larry David isn’t one to talk much about process; anyone who’s seen the Seinfeld creator’s Curb Your Enthusiasm can imagine what a fruitless endeavor that might be. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some fascinating stories about the hit HBO series, an almost entirely improvised comedy about the comedian and writer’s life. The lines between the show and real life are kind of blurry, after all, with most stars playing themselves and playing up their personal tics.
For his new podcast, Origins, author James Andrew Miller managed to wrangle together most of the primary cast to provide an oral history of the show’s early days. And, if podcasts aren’t your thing, The Hollywood Reporter has pulled some excerpts, one of which epitomizes how the show’s naturalistic style has bled into the actors’ lives.
Comedian Richard Lewis, a regular presence on the series, not only finds plotlines worming into his real life, but he also finds that his real-life dynamic with Larry tends to color their scenes together. As he tells Miller:
I needed a colonoscopy a couple of years ago. I’m waiting for the car. Everything is valeted in L.A., you know, little stores, little delis, the whole thing is a joke. Well, this was a medical building. So I valet, and the guy says to me, “Are you going to have a colon fight with Larry?” [The pair fight over who has a cleaner colon in season six.] I go, “You know what? Just do me a favor. I could be dying. Let me get my colonoscopy.” So then I get the car, and some other guy is walking to his car, and he goes, “Richard, is your kidney OK?” I go, “What are you talking about?” He goes, “Well, you’ve got Larry’s kidney.” I go, “No, no.” I said, “Please, please.” And it gets to the point where, because we’re playing our own names and our own people, our own persons, people do believe it. And I sort of take pride in that because I guess it’s very real. I might be unraveling in some scenes, and Larry might be upset and angry but funny. But I felt it was like doing a Cassavettes movie, but as a comedy. Because it’s so real, and it gets really intense sometimes. Our fights are almost no different on the show except maybe in how loud they are in real life.
One can only hope one of those real-life fights was about a “lefty call.”
Curb Your Enthusiasm returns for its eighth season on October 1.