If there’s one thing the HBO comedy ”Curb Your Enthusiasm” offers, it’s the comfort of knowing that Hollywood multimillionaires suffer from as much disorienting social awkwardness as the rest of us. When the series began filming its fourth season — which debuted Jan. 4 — we scratched our heads neurotically, searching for a way to get a unique, behind-the-scenes peek into ”Seinfeld” cocreator Larry David’s bizarro world. Then Cheryl Hines, who was Emmy-nominated for her role as Larry’s skeptical but incredibly tolerant wife, bravely stepped forward and offered to share the diary she’d kept during production. We accepted, with enthusiasm.
FEBRUARY 25 The ol’ gang is back. We’re casting for our first episode of season 4. Because our show is improvised, almost everyone is asked to audition, even celebrities. Today the stunning Mimi Rogers came in to improvise a scene with Larry. In the scenario, he is supposed to flirt with her. We’re all sitting there and Larry looks at us and says, ”I really don’t feel comfortable with you people watching. Just get out for a second.” We left the room so Larry could do his awkward flirting.
MARCH 3 Today is our first day of shooting. I just finished a consultation with our hair/makeup team to decide how big my hair will be in an early-’90s flashback. We decided the bigger the better. Besides that, it’s business as usual. Except that we have a different house this year. As I make my way to get a little coffee from craft services, I notice a few chickens wandering around. I guess our new location has pet chickens. No one seems to mind them, so I don’t bother to ask. That’s the thing about our show: There’s not really a high-maintenance type of person to worry or complain about things like free-roaming chickens. But the chickens are very sweet and quiet and they like doughnuts. Fine with me.
MARCH 11 Talk on the set is that Mel Brooks, who’ll guest-star in several episodes this season, ate lunch shirtless yesterday. Apparently he wanted to ”get a little sun.” I miss all the good stuff. Mel Brooks is hot.
MARCH 26 Today we recorded DVD commentary for the first season of ”Curb.” That poor DVD director. He was hoping for some insightful conversation about our show. Instead Larry, Jeff Garlin [who plays Larry’s enabling manager, Jeff Greene], Bob Weide [Curb’s director — exec producer], and I complimented one particular extra. We spent a few minutes discussing my hair. Why was it so dark the first season? Were we trying to make me look older? More Jewish?
We talked about how Antoinette Spolar (who plays Larry’s assistant) does a great Liza Minnelli impersonation (which she never does on the show). Sometimes we just watched the show in silence while Jeff made lewd hand gestures and Larry made disgusted facial expressions. Bob would try to throw in an interesting tidbit now and then, only to be mocked by the rest of us. At the end of the commentary, Larry said, ”I’m sorry. If you just sat through that, I apologize.”
After two episodes, the DVD director asked us if we’d like to go through the episodes again and ”take another pass.” No, we all felt pretty good about it. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.