We can't curb our enthusiasm for Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry David's manager on Curb Your Enthusiasm and recently headlined his own standup special, Jeff Garlin: Young and Handsome.
TV Guide Magazine: Your special debuted the same week as Curb's new season. Were you worried about overexposure?
Garlin: God, no! First off, I really am not into fame, so I do press based on having something legitimate to show to the public. And if I don't have anything, I just stay home. So I'm never worried about overexposure.
TV Guide Magazine: How'd you come up with your special's title?
Garlin: When people ask "How are you?" I've been saying "young and handsome" since I was young and handsome. So when it came to a title, it was a no-brainer. Even today, someone said "how are you?" and I said "young and handsome." That's my automatic response.
TV Guide Magazine: How do people react?
Garlin: They smile.
TV Guide Magazine: You say in the special that your wife is not your soulmate because she's constantly disappointed in you. Is this true? And how does she feel about you revealing this?
Garlin: She's okay with it, because I make a living that way. Everything I say in my show is true. I love her madly, I'm not going anywhere, but she's not my soulmate.
TV Guide Magazine: What can we expect from Jeff Greene on Curb?
Garlin: More of the same, yet different. I become more of an a--hole every season. I don't question it. My character becomes more and more heightened in terms of being a jerk. The more jerky I am, the more fun it is.
TV Guide Magazine: Do people ever think you really are Larry's manager?
Garlin: They used to, the first few seasons of the show. When people would meet me, they would ask me what was it like working with all that money since I was his business manager.
TV Guide Magazine: What was it like shooting the Seinfeld reunion?
Garlin: It was very exciting. I'm a huge Seinfeld fan. I felt like I'd walked into a rerun. It was dreamlike.
TV Guide Magazine: Was there a risk in bringing this cast together again?
Garlin: The feeling was this was the perfect way to do it. If they'd ever tried to do a real Seinfeld reunion, it would be lame. Under the guise of Curb, it was fantastic.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you think you were done after last season?
Garlin: I think that every season. From Season 1 on. Larry doesn't want to do another season until he has a great idea. So every year, I don't know if he's going to have a great idea. I assume that he is, and there were a couple seasons — last season and the season before — I thought for sure these are our final seasons. Larry and I even talked about them being our final seasons.
TV Guide Magazine: Why does he keep changing his mind?
Garlin: Because he has a great idea. And he loves doing the show. One of the reasons our show is so funny is that it's so pure. Larry David doesn't do the show for money—he does the show because he has a great idea and he wants to do it. I don't know many shows in TV history that kept moving forward for anything but money. Not that we're not paid, but if he doesn't have an idea he doesn't think is great, he's not going to move forward.
TV Guide Magazine: So do you think this will be the last season?
Garlin: Yep! We might do another season, but as of right now, I assume it's going to be our last.
TV Guide Magazine: How would you feel if it was?
Garlin: I would just keep moving on and working. I love doing the show and I'll keep doing it as long as Larry wants to do it. I don't care if I become a huge star, a big director, I'll keep doing it.
TV Guide Magazine: What's it like being married to Susie Essman on TV?
Garlin: She's a very close friend of mine and my wife's, and she's one of my favorite people in the world. She treats me nothing like she does on the show. If I was really married to a woman like that, I would be divorced.
TV Guide Magazine: You say on your special that all the info about you on IMDb and Wikipedia is wrong. Let's test that out. Did you really guest star on Baywatch?
Garlin: Yes, I was a villain. My character was named Larry Loomin' Large and I was an evil DJ who took over the beach.
TV Guide Magazine: Any memories you can share?
Garlin: I thought it was the best acting of my life and the worst acting of my life at the same time. I'm only as good as the material I'm given — I'm not like Sean Penn. The material was terrible, so my acting was not very good. But my acting was great because I'd do scenes with David Hasselhoff and not laugh. Because believe me on the inside, I was thinking to myself, "That's David Hasselhoff!" And I'd be laughing on the inside, but I wouldn't let it come out.
TV Guide Magazine: Is it true you roomed with Conan O'Brien in Chicago?
TV Guide Magazine: And did you run a petcare business together?
Garlin: No. [Laughs] Is that on Wikipedia? That's fantastic! He was a comedy writer, and I was a comedian.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you have any inkling he'd grow up to be a late-night host?
Garlin: Never in a million years would I think that. He was the funniest person I'd ever met and I adored him, but I didn't think he'd ever host a talk show. Although we used to do a fake talk show in our living room. He did this really great George Takei impression and we made up a show where he was one of the guest hosts. It was The Wild Blue Yonder with George Takei and his guests were either Adam West, which is the only impression I do, or myself.
TV Guide Magazine: Is it true you're often mistaken for George Wendt?
Garlin: No. Many years ago when I was at Second City, I always knew it was going to be a bad audience when I would walk out and they would yell out "Norm!" But no, I never get mistaken for him.
TV Guide Magazine: Is it true your hobbies include "eating puddin' and taking naps"?
Garlin: Used to. I'm married and now I'm diabetic and trying to lose weight so I don't eat sugar anymore. And I don't eat sugar-free pudding. I used to take naps but now I'm filled with stress and anxiety from having a family and there are no naps for me.
TV Guide Magazine: Did having a family inspire you to do Wall-E and Wizards of Waverly Place?
Garlin: I wouldn't say they inspired me. It's certainly a joy to do things my children can see and are excited that I'm in. I'm more proud of Wall-E than anything I've ever done.
TV Guide Magazine: How'd they think of you for that role?
Garlin: I was acquainted with Andrew Stanton, who was the writer and director, and he was thinking about the role. I'm embarrassed to say what he said — it was very complimentary, so I'm not going to. He immediately thought of me.
TV Guide Magazine: You have a very distinctive voice. Do you ever lose it from straining so much?
Garlin: After Wall-E, I did lose my voice. It's funny you even mention that because when I first went to shoot my special in Chicago, I had laryngitis so bad, I had to cancel it. I've never canceled a show in 27 years and then I canceled the one show the initial night we were going to film it.
TV Guide Magazine: Now you've written a book. What can you tell us about it?
Garlin: It's called My Footprint: Saving the World One Pound at a Time. It's about me lowering my personal footprint and my carbon footprint while in production for Curb Your Enthusiasm.
TV Guide Magazine: I follow your Twitter feed and you also have a very distinctive writing style...
Garlin: Oh dear God, do you really? Do you know the mixed responses I get to my tweets? I either get "I love it" or people go, "I don't understand it — what does he mean when he says 'Lotion'?" People get really confused and angry, which also makes me laugh. My feeling with Twitter is I don't want anyone knowing what I'm doing or where I'm at or any real stuff. I just like putting little fun, silly things on there — making people laugh and moving on. Like today, I said "Dutch Apple" to my assistant and she goes, "You should Tweet that." So I did.
TV Guide Magazine: Great, I think that's everything I need.
Garlin: It was a pleasure talking to you. You're very good at your job.
TV Guide Magazine: Thanks — so are you!
Garlin: Thank you, my friend.
Watch Curb Your Enthusiasm Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10/9c immediately followed by Curb: The Discussion on TV Guide Network.
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