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If not for Larry David, we would have never been blessed with the comedy revolution that was Seinfeld, which he co-created with star Jerry Seinfeld in 1989. The long-running, still iconic NBC sitcom was how he introduced the world to his relentlessly cynical neuroses, through Jason Alexander’s character George Costanza, who was really an exaggerated version of David himself, before he later played an exaggerated version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Of course, these are only the two most obvious examples of how he has made us laugh over the years, so let’s take a deeper dive into some other highlights and more obscure moments that saw the comedian, writer, producer, and actor prove himself to be “master of his domain,” starting with, arguably, his greatest creation.
Seinfeld (Amazon Purchase)
A marginally successful observational comedian (Jerry Seinfeld), his no-nonsense ex-girlfriend (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), his eccentric neighbor from across the hall (Michael Richards), and his neurotic buddy since childhood (Jason Alexander) each run into disastrous situations that vary from the relatable to the surreal in New York City.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: Not only did Larry David co-create Seinfeld (one of the most worshipped sitcoms ever, that will be available on Netflix as of October 1, 2021) with Jerry Seinfeld and based George Costanza largely on his own personality, as established, he also makes various cameos throughout the series (as a character in a fake movie called Flaming Globes of Sigmund, as Frank Costanza’s caped attorney, etc.) and was the voice of George Steinbrenner while George was working for the New York Yankees.
Fridays (Tubi, Shout Factory)
Bizarre characters and situations, surprising celebrity guest appearances, and musical performances by the hottest artists of the time defined this subversive, short-lived cult hit which would prove that late night sketch comedy shows were not just made for Saturday nights.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: Long before he created Seinfeld and cast Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer on the sitcom, Larry David met the future Emmy-winning actor while they were working as both writers and performers on Fridays - an Emmy-nominated, amusing late night sketch comedy TV show that, during its short run from 1980 to 1982, helped fill the laughless silence that many felt was being caused at the time by Saturday Night Live.
Saturday Night Live (Hulu, Peacock)
For more than 40 years, creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels' sketch comedy series has been the home of many of television’s most iconically funny moments, and a jumping off point for some of the most successful careers in entertainment, ranging from obvious comedic actors to masters of various other crafts.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: Ironically, it was only just a few years after Fridays was cancelled in 1982 when Larry David took a job as a writer for Saturday Night Live (and stayed on for a total of 18 episodes) before returning three decades later to be the long, long running sketch comedy lardmark’s resident Bernie Sanders to Emmy-nominated acclaim and host two of its most memorable episodes in recent memory.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO Max)
Despite the fame, wealth, and various celebrity acquaintances that creating Seinfeld has blessed him with, Larry David still has reasons to be a cynical mess - mostly due to the series of disastrous circumstances he constantly finds himself in and, usually, at no one else’s fault but his own.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: After serving as the co-showrunner of a hit series featuring a character inspired by his infamous neurotic behavior, Larry David’s big follow-up was playing himself in a 1999 mockumentary that soon evolved into Curb Your Enthusiasm - an Emmy-winning HBO original series over two decades in the running that offers a brilliantly cringeworthy, partially improvised, and satirical look at Hollywood as seen through the eyes of one of its angriest residents.
Misery Loves Comedy (Peacock, Tubi, IMDb TV)
People from various parts of the world who are in the business of telling jokes (including the likes of Martin Short and two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks) share their own personal stories of how comedy can often be no laughing matter in this revealing and even inspiring documentary made with, and for, comedians by a veteran comic.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: If you truly want to know more about the real Larry David, the comic-turned-writer/actor appears as one of the many notable and experienced talking heads in Misery Loves Comedy - director Kevin Pollak’s fascinating inside look of what it takes to be a comedian - to share some of his proudest and least proudest moments telling jokes on stage.
Sour Grapes (Amazon Rental)
After a man (Craig Bierko) takes home a $400,000 jackpot from an Atlantic City slot machine, his cousin and good friend (Steven Weber) begins to grow jealous and is convinced that he deserves at least half of the loot because it was actually the gift of his last two tokens that led to the big win.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: Before creating Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s real first big follow-up to Seinfeld was his feature-length debut in 1998 as the writer and director of Sour Grapes, a comedy with the man’s signature style of crass comedy and a few distinct similarities to the plot of Envy, a 2004 film starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black that, coincidentally, David also executive produced.
Whatever Works (Amazon Rental)
After going through a divorce, a reclusive, insulting, easily annoyed, middle-aged New York City native (Larry David) strikes up an unlikely friendship a 21-year-old runaway from Mississippi (Evan Rachel Wood), only to be made even more complicated when the young lady’s parents track her down and arrive in the city.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: Nine years after directing his first (and only) film, Larry David returned to movies as a performer in the central role of Whatever Works, a witty and likable comedy about a self-described unlikable man learning how to love himself and others again that, at times, feels like what might happen if Woody Allen had written and directed an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Radio Days (Cinemax)
A series of vignettes celebrate and pull lid off of the golden age of radio in the early 1940s, as seen through the eyes of its performers, but also interconnected with the story of a working class Jewish family’s personal struggles in Rockaway Beach, New York.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: More than two decades before he cast him as the boisterous protagonist of his 2009 comedy Whatever Works, writer, director, and narrator Woody Allen cast Larry David in Radio Days in the brief, but memorable and certainly unmistakable, role of a supposedly communist next door neighbor to the family at the center of the film who convinces Josh Mostel’s character, Abe, that resting on the Jewish day of rest is a waste of time.
The Three Stooges (Amazon Rental)
The bumbling and rivalrous brothers Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Larry (Will & Grace cast member Sean Hayes), and Curly (former MadTV cast member Will Sasso) try to save the orphanage they grew up in when it goes bankrupt, only to find themselves embroiled in an obscure murder plot and also appear on a reality show.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: Larry David also gives a surprising, but scene-stealing performance in The Three Stooges - a 2012 reboot of the classic comedy shorts/tribute to the iconic trio of performers who brought Vaudeville to the screen better than anyone before - as Sister Mary-Mengele, a nun who raised the three goofs after they showed up on the doorstep of her orphanage.
Clear History (HBO Max)
A former marketing executive (Larry David) is given the chance to plot revenge against his old boss (Jon Hamm) who made billions out of an electric car company idea which he refused to market, turning him into a national disgrace and forcing him to adopt a new look and identity.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Larry David: A year after the Three Stooges reboot became one of his biggest movie acting roles to date, Larry David led the star-studded cast of Clear History - a hilarious HBO original movie from Superbad director Greg Mottola that David also wrote with former Seinfeld writers Alec Berg, David Mandel, and Jeff Shaffer.
Larry David is a prime example of someone who helped change the face of comedy and has yet to stop putting his own unique stamp on it. Now, we will just have to wait until Curb You Enthusiasm Season 11 premieres on HBO in October 2021 to see how he continues his impressive reign next.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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