Misery becomes comedy on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, HBO's Emmy-nominated extravaganza of angst, starring celebrity curmudgeon Larry David.
Somewhere between jerk and jerked around, between schlemiel and shlimazel, lurks a man named Larry David. Rich and bald beyond his wildest dreams, he spends his days trying to avoid favors, obligations, protocol, intimacy, and deep, lingering awkwardness. Usually, though, he winds up stealing doll heads from little girls, physically scrapping with female interior decorators, hitting on the spouses of his wheelchair-bound friends, and pretending he’s an incest survivor — all misunderstood misdeeds that result in yelling, ruined friendships, blown deals, more yelling, and deep, lingering awkwardness.
Somewhere behind that Larry David, the one as seen on the hilariously misanthropic HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, lurks another man named Larry David. This Larry David, the real Larry David, the non-comically exaggerated extension of the 55-year-old bespectacled Seinfeld cocreator — now, he must be a whole different plate of latkes, right? What forces could possibly conspire against such a supremely admired, obscenely wealthy Hollywood creative type? To find out, let’s sit across from him in his Santa Monica production office on this quiet summer afternoon and watch him perform one of the most rudimentary tasks known to man: eating lunch.
”It’s a very unpleasant thing, I can tell you that,” he says, shaking his head while unboxing his vegan takeout. ”I never got the hang of eating. I use many more napkins than the average person. There is dribbling. I just don’t have a talent for it and it’s a little disturbing. I’m a very awkward, bad eater. I hated taking women out to dinner when I was single because of the whole eating thing — and also because it was too much money on top of it, but…”
He lifts an unwieldy tempeh burger toward his mouth. A drop of sauce plops onto the plate.
”People think a sandwich is a good thing to have with a girl on a date, but it’s not,” he continues between bites. ”It seems easy to eat. All you’ve got to do is hold it and take a bite. That’s the worst thing you do! A plate is so much easier, dealing with stuff on a plate. It takes a long time to learn these things.”
Just as it seems that the meal has gone off without incident or noticeable loss of self-esteem, David extracts one last carton from the bag. ”Oh, look at this — I left something out,” he says. ”It’s a green vegetable.” He peers at it suspiciously and puts a forkful in his mouth. His face registers disgust. ”This is horrible!” he sputters. ”It’s terrible…[Cough] I really don’t understand how anybody could eat this stuff. [Cough]”
Larry — are you all right?
”[Cough] I’m fine. [Cough]”
His choking starts to reach paging-Dr. Heimlich levels. Suddenly, a forceful hack shoots a piece of chewed green leafery onto his lap. He glances down at it and then back at you.
”See?” he exclaims, sounding amused and ashamed at once. ”Did I tell you? What did I tell you? [Cough, Cough…]”