Don’t expect a different Larry David in his upcoming play, Fish in the Dark. “As with most things I write, the main character sounded exactly like me,” he said during a TimesTalks event Tuesday evening. “What a coincidence?” He continued: “Same character, different name, same idiot.”
The play will star David when it opens on Broadway, but David said he didn’t intend to be in the play when he wrote it. Producer Scott Rudin convinced him otherwise, arguing that “‘the audience is going to want you to do it; they know it’s you. You’re not fooling anybody,'” David said. “He appealed to my massive ego. And there you go—I caved. I said okay. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t regretted that decision.”
During the event, David wouldn’t go into detail about the plot of play, which also stars Rita Wilson as David’s character’s wife, but did explain that it begins with his character getting a call in the middle of the night that his father has been taken to the hospital. The first part of the play takes place during the hospital vigil, the latter half is what happens in the aftermath of the father’s death. But what about the more obscure title? “The title comes from something in the body of the play,” he said.
Previews for the play don’t begin for another month, but David said he is most certainly not off book. “I don’t know my lines,” he said. He is, however, experimenting with improvisation, a hallmark of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and something which his fellow stage actors aren’t too pleased about: “I’m doing it in rehearsal. The actors don’t like it so much.” The last time David was in a play? Eighth grade, he said.
But he acknowledges the fate of the play rests on his shoulders. “If the play doesn’t work, it’s because I won’t remember the lines and I’ll screw it up,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, it’s going to be because of me.”