If you haven’t heard of Curb Your Enthusiasm, maybe you have heard of Larry David. He probably wouldn’t want you to know who he is, but he's mostly known for being the creator and writer behind the hit show Seinfeld.
Larry is pretty, pretty, pretty funny. “I think a lot of people can identify with this dry, super sarcastic sense of humor that Larry David has to begin with,” says Lisa Simms, a local comic and Curb fan.
Playing a hilariously exaggerated yet neurotic, germaphobic, near-senile version of himself, David is working on the release of Curb’s eleventh season this year. To celebrate, here are some life lessons from the man himself.
1. Call your family when you’re in town. You don’t have to see them. Just call to say hello. “The Special Section” S3 E6
Like the rest of the world, Larry’s cousin Andy on the show, played by Richard Kind, frequently annoys Larry.
Throughout the show, Larry receives many phone calls and lunch invites that he will reject nine of out every ten times. When Andy realizes Larry was in town and didn’t call, it makes for one of my favorite scenes in all of Curb. This lesson is from Andy: “Don’t be a putz! When you come to town, you give me a call!”
2. If your friend offers you a new house tour, you probably shouldn’t turn it down. “Krazee-Eyez Killa” S3 E8
It’s scenes like this one in Curb that really make me laugh. Larry’s manager, Jeff, and his wife, Susie, have just moved into a new home. Larry and Susie snap at each other in nearly every episode. “I remember [Susie] taking stuff on the chin with Larry,” Simms says. And this is their bickering peak. When she ever-so-politely offers Larry a tour, and, of course, he ever-so-rudely rejects, it doesn’t take long for Susie to blow.
Let’s learn from Larry’s mistake here, and, even if you don’t want to, just take the darn house tour.
3. Stand up for those you believe are in the right. “Never Wait for Seconds!” S9 E8
Larry is well-known for his particular requests about anything. Actually, everything. Whether it’s that the dentist’s lobby’s magazines are too boring or Susie’s way of sighing after she sips water, Larry’s lack of a filter allows him to stand up for his beliefs.
In this scene, a man is ridiculed for cutting the line at a buffet, claiming he is returning for seconds. Larry sees this interaction and stands up to defend the cutter. “The man is getting seconds! To make him wait another 10 minutes for a few measly potatoes, shame on you!” Larry implements this rule in America, and I believe we shall all abide. Never wait for seconds!
4. Support your favorite coffee shop by giving them some tips. “Happy New Year” S10 E1
The entire storyline of the ninth season is Larry’s spite store against Mocha Joe’s coffee shop. Leon and Larry go in to enjoy some hot coffee, only to find out the scones are too soft, the tables are wobbly and the coffee is cold. In Larry David fashion, he raises his concerns to Mocha Joe.
But maybe Larry has a point. Shouldn’t we, as a people, agree to let our baristas know that our coffee is too cold? I’m sure Larry would. And if you do so, the best approach is Larry’s. As a bonus lesson: Consider making a spite store.
5. Stay cleanly, my friends. Don’t take other people’s things into the bathroom. “The Smoking Jacket” S5 E6
Anyone that has seen Seinfeld knows that the main character, Jerry Seinfeld, is a huge germaphobe. This carries over in Curb when Larry is gifted his father’s smoking jacket and he takes it over to the Playboy Mansion (he is there to take a young cancer patient to see a naked woman, but that’s another lesson).
When his jacket very closely resembles Hugh Hefner’s, Larry makes the mistake of allowing Hefner to wear it to the bathroom. Because he is so disgusted, Larry switches his jacket with Hefner’s. So, please, don’t take someone’s father’s smoking jacket into the bathroom. Especially in the pandemic, let’s not be germy.
Simms appreciates the crossovers from Seinfeld and Curb. “There is a lot of absurdist humor,” she says. “Curb and Seinfeld do a really good job of leaning into crazy situations that just happen to the straight man character. It’s something insane and incredibly silly happening to people who are just trying to exist.”
6. If you get the wrong takeout food, please, don’t eat it. “The Shrimp Incident” S2 E4
You know it’s funny when the actors themselves can barely keep down a smile. In a takeout food mix-up, Larry realizes the head of HBO took eight of the 11 shrimp out of his Kung Pao noodles. You guessed it! Larry’s filter fails him again in a pitch meeting for the network.
Lesson one, don’t pick up others' takeout food. Two, probably don’t confront the thief in a work setting.
7. Invite people who need a home into yours. “Meet the Blacks” S6 E1
For a more heartfelt lesson, this one comes from Larry’s wife in the show, Cheryl. In the midst of a hurricane that hits the country, she wants to invite a family who had to evacuate to stay with them. Of course, Larry doesn’t fully agree at first. Once he does, the Black family stays with the Davids for many episodes.
Hopefully this pandemic ends soon and we can invite those into our homes who may need one. This may be the best lesson Curb has to offer.
“I think his approach to life is pretty relatable and grumpy,” Simms says. “I think there are a lot of life lessons to be learned from the show.”