The comedy legend told USA TODAY that he “didn’t need to study tapes” of Senator Sanders because he talks just like David’s cousin.
“I’m sorry, Gary, I’m not a good interview. I apologize. I’m much better in front of an audience.”
That’s Larry David, professional curmudgeon, repeating an oft-stated regret after agreeing to discuss the ninth season of HBO’s improvised cult-classic comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the first in six years. He insisted it take place on Apple’s FaceTime app, which his assistant set up in his temporary Los Angeles office.
But David, who struck it mega-rich as the co-creator of NBC’s Seinfeld, didn’t really want to talk much about upcoming episodes. He forbade HBO from releasing advance screeners — “Why would we? I don’t see the upside in it” — and will say only that the first episode (Sunday, 10 ET/PT) sets up a season-long arc, much like past seasons focused on a Seinfeld reunion and Larry’s casting in The Producers on Broadway.
Six years is an awfully long time to wait, even for David, 70, who “wasn’t into doing it until I decided to do it, I guess. It’s just whether or not I’m in the mood. There were other things I wanted to do. I did a movie (HBO’s Clear History), I did a play (Fish in the Dark), I did some stand-up, and then I was ready to do the show again.”
What’s different? Mercifully, not much, judging from advance footage: He’s still annoyed by life’s frustrations, including shoelaces, shampoo pumps, an inept (and constipated) assistant, a perfume saleswoman and a neighbor he takes to court on Judge Judy. And he makes many more enemies with his churlish behavior.
“I would say nothing’s changed, except instead of people calling me a bald (expletive) they now call me an old (expletive). I’m six years older … so all the insults include something old,” which is “much worse. I’d kill to be called bald again.”
Co-stars Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines and JB Smoove are back, along with guests including Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen (as themselves), Bryan Cranston (as his therapist), Lauren Graham (a potential love interest) and Jimmy Kimmel.
David says he’s “horrified” at the suggestion that his unfiltered alter ego has emboldened others, especially Donald Trump, to speak freely without fear of retribution.
But it’s true that the real Larry has become more like “TV Larry,”
“I think that he has seeped into me to the degree that I will say things now that I didn’t used to say. I don’t go as far as he goes, but if somebody asks me to lunch, I can go, ‘No, I don’t think so,’ which I really didn’t do before. And they’re not offended! I seem to be able to get away with it, because they’re expecting it. That’s who they think I am, so why disappoint them?”
David won raves for last year’s performance as presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he had a brief and unrewarding stint as a writer early in his career. “I have to say, I didn’t have to put a lot of work into that impression. It’s not like I studied tapes or anything. He does talk exactly like my cousin, so I have that voice in my head,” he says. “I was very surprised and pleased with how many people liked that.”
But the two share more than just a voice and baldness. In the Oct. 3 season premiere of PBS genealogy series Finding Your Roots (8 ET/PT, times may vary), David learns that they have common ancestry. And David also discovered his great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War and owned two children as slaves.
“I was shocked. I was completely blown away” by that revelation, he says. “Believe me, the last thing I wanted to do was to find all that out on television. It was very un-Larry like. But I’m glad I did it, because it was interesting personally to me to find out all that stuff.”
David is still editing the 10-episode Curb season, “then I’ll probably start thinking about another season,” he says, confirming plans to keep going. (Phew.) “It won’t be six years” until the next one.
Does he prefer to be working, even though he hardly needs the money? “I don’t know how people get through days when they’re not working. I know people really look forward to retirement — people who have regular jobs — and I’m sure many (jobs) can be tedious. This isn’t like that, though. This is fun.”
A new season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ will premiere Oct. 1 with even more hilariously awkward situations for Larry David.
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