The Best Celebrity Feuds of Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dozens of celebrities have appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm as themselves over the years, whether in tiny cameos or meaty recurring roles. What these guest spots have in common is that, in nearly every actor’s case, they end up getting into it with the series’ misanthropic star, Larry David. In honor of the show’s return, we’ve run down the 20 most notable celebrities-as-themselves Curb appearances — ranked, as they only could be, by just how hilariously juicy the feuds with Larry were.
20. Shaquille O’Neal
Larry isn’t shy about his hatred for the Lakers in the season 2 episode “Shaq,” but he somehow manages to nab tickets right on the floor when his manager Jeff has to bail. This does not go Shaquille O’Neal’s way: Larry ends up extending his legs in the middle of the game, Shaq trips on them, and he ends up sustaining a serious injury. L.A. ends up hating Larry, but unfortunately, we don’t get Shaq’s thoughts on the matter.
19. Alanis Morissette
A rumor of a terrorist attack forces Alanis Morissette to perform for a charity benefit in Larry David’s home. While Larry doesn’t do anything directly to the artist — she even reveals to him the secret subject of “Mr. Duplicity” — a combination of his feuding and secret-spreading does lead to her performing in a neck brace. So there’s that.
18. Michael York
Michael York goes in on a restaurant investment with Larry in season 3, a decision he’ll repeatedly regret as he tries to gently steer the team away from Larry’s strange ideas and even stranger hang-ups.
17. Martin Scorsese
“Do balls read?” is just one of the many questions Larry forces Martin Scorsese to reluctantly consider when he’s cast as a mobster in one of his films. Scorsese’s appearances are limited, but he’s exhausted by Larry by the time he’s finished on the show.
16. Richard Lewis
Richard Lewis keeps coming back for more, despite having had countless dates and love interests ruined by Larry’s intervention. (The scandal surrounding “Vehicular Fellatio” remains a personal favorite.) Larry did give him a kidney, however — though the road to that decision was long, winding, selfish, and maybe even accidental.
15. Hugh Hefner
The late Hugh Hefner is dryly hilarious in his Curb guest spot, which takes place at the Playboy Mansion after Larry’s manager Jeff is given an invitation. He’s a cryptic presence here, unrevealing in such a way that actually drives Larry crazy — especially when Hefner sort-of-inadvertently steals his expensive smoking jacket.
14. John McEnroe
John McEnroe and Larry share a few laughs over “The Freak Book” that originated as a goof gift to Ted Danson, but after a limo ride filled with maddeningly inane questions, the tennis pro can’t help but indulge his infamously angry side as he zeroes in on the Curb star for blame.
13. Lucy Lawless
The Xena actress is Larry’s first post-Cheryl date, which means anything’s on the table. And while things start out surprisingly good, she leaves him, disgusted, when he makes a premature presumption of sex.
12. Jimmy Kimmel
Kimmel’s appearance in the season 9 premiere initially seemed like a harmless cameo before descending into total madness. We’re not sure of the fallout for the late-night host, but we are reassured that after Larry impersonates the Ayatollah on his show and creates a massive backlash, Kimmel wants nothing to do with him.
11. Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks cast Larry David in his revival of The Producers for a scheme so meta it would make fans of the musical proud: Intentionally miscast Larry, create a flop (sound familiar?), and make bank off of it. But even while it’s all part of the plan, Mel isn’t faking his fatigue at getting through all those rehearsals with a guy most certainly unsuited to Broadway.
10. Wanda Sykes
There have been moments when Wanda’s been a bit more endeared by Larry, but for the most part, she’s called him out on everything from his “racist dog” to his own potentially racist parking lot behavior. Their biting back-and-forth never disappoints.
9. Christian Slater
Did you know Christian Slater eats a lot of caviar? Too much, Larry would argue. At a party for friends Ted and Mary, Larry rats the Heathers actor out for his apparent indulgence, leaving him a little embarrassed — and willing to take out a low-effort but high-impact act of revenge.
8. Ricky Gervais
The predictably exasperating Ricky/Larry standoff takes up much of season 8’s “The Hero.” Gervais effortlessly riffs on his public persona: smarmy, full of himself, and a fan of the deep cut. (“I love broad comedy, I love the laugh track on it,” he says of Seinfeld.) It’s hard to say Larry bothers him since Gervais spends much of the episode one-upping his social not-so-niceties, but he certainly bothers Larry.
7. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Louis-Dreyfus has appeared in more seasons than any of the other Seinfeld cast members, and as such has experienced a special kind of tension with Larry. He calls her out for not respecting wood and creates some unnecessary drama with her daughter in the reunion-centric season 7, botches an attempted creative collaboration in season 2, and, most memorably, puts her through the wringer when setting up a meeting between her and a fan (also: Larry’s pesky neighbor) in season 1’s “The Wire.”
6. Ben Stiller
Larry’s original Producers costar decides to bow out of the play with Mel Brooks solely because he cannot stand to be around Larry. Highlights of their doomed collaboration include a birthday bash fiasco (“Who celebrates their birthday so far from the actual date?” Larry demands to know) and some awkwardness with the actor’s wife, Christine Taylor.
5. David Schwimmer
And then there was the Producers replacement, David Schwimmer. Sure, Schwimmer makes it to Broadway, which is more than Ben Stiller can say, but there’s still some truly cringe-worthy interactions between him and Larry. The tension reaches its peak when Larry manages to grossly offend his father on multiple occasions. The senior Schwimmer ends up leaving an episode-ending voicemail for the ages.
4. Ted Danson
Ted Danson’s main Curb season was its third, when he and Larry went in on a restaurant venture together and Larry, predictably, kept bringing things off course. But he’s always around and griping with our Curb hero. A few exceptions notwithstanding, he’s one of the few who seems to know how to get the upper hand on Larry, an old friend who doesn’t make time for his neuroses. Of course, this has Larry consistently ready for arguments over any and all social mores.
3. Rosie O’Donnell
O’Donnell’s handful of Curb appearances have been awfully intense, a special kind of feud that tends to spark violence. In “Denise Handicapped,” the two get into a literal fistfight over a check before O’Donnell presumably beats him up again at the episode’s conclusion. And in “The Bisexual,” they battle over a woman’s affections, Larry turning to “juicing” (while they also compete on the softball field) to try to one-up her. It doesn’t go well.
2. Jason Alexander
Season 7 of Curb could have easily been renamed Larry vs. Jason: Whether over tipping rules or pen etiquette or Seinfeld scripts or Larry’s own ex-wife Cheryl, the two argue over everything, remaining the bitter center of an otherwise jovial reunion season. It’s an especially rich feud, of course, since the season features Alexander getting back into the role of George Costanza, a role closely modeled on Larry by Larry.
1. Michael J. Fox
The ultimate Curb feud has to be one of its most recent: Michael J. Fox playing upstairs neighbor to Larry David. The episode, suitably titled “Larry vs. Michael J. Fox,” manages to delicately employ Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to uproarious comic effect, as Larry tries to figure out whether the commotion on the floor above him is deliberate or, well, “Parkinson’s.” It’s an ugly feud on both sides that leads to one of them getting banned from New York by the mayor himself.