Over seven seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm, creator and star Larry David has offered a DVD commentary for precisely one episode — the pilot. "I hated it so much I couldn't do it again," David says in the cover story of the new issue of TV Guide Magazine, on stands Friday. "I didn't have much to say about it, nor did I want to share much about the so-called 'process' with the audience. It just wasn't for me." With a laugh, he admits, "I don't put too much work into the DVDs." (Season 7, featuring the celebrated Seinfeld cast reunion, comes out June 8.)
So belated DVD-style commentary will be offered as TV Guide Network presents Curb: The Discussion. Larry's amusingly cringeworthy behavior is dissected by host Susie Essman, who plays his gutter-mouthed foil Susie Greene on the show, and celebrity guests. The Discussion follows encore episodes of Curb, which is making its basic-cable debut on TV Guide Network Wednesday, June 2, at 10/9c.
"I ran into Jon Feltheimer, the head of TV Guide Network, and said, 'Gee, this is going to be awful; you're going to have to cut at least eight minutes out of every show, because it's close to 30 minutes, and on TV Guide Network, with commercials, a show is 21 minutes. It's going to be incomprehensible,'" David recalls. "He told me, 'I want to block out an hour because we don't want to cut the show, either. But if we did that, there'll be 10 minutes at the end we have to fill up.' I came back to the office and Dave Mandel, one of our writer/producers, came up with the idea for The Discussion, and I thought, 'That's great!'"
David offered ideas for topics but was too busy to join the panels — he's prepping an eighth season of Curb, which will make it HBO's longest-running series. He won't reveal much about the new season, except that five episodes will be shot in New York and the other five in Los Angeles, the show's usual setting.
He sat down in his Los Angeles office — a plaque reading in recognition of larry david's sad need for recognition hangs among the art and pictures on its walls — to reflect on Curb, comedic controversies and his recent clash with Madonna on Jerry Seinfeld's NBC reality show The Marriage Ref (when he told her, "You hate men," she fired back, "No, I hate you!").
TV Guide Magazine: During the course of Curb...
David: [Laughs] No, my character hasn't grown.
TV Guide Magazine: But has he irritated more people than he's been irritated by?
David: That's a tough one. I feel like it came out even. It's a push, as they say in betting parlance.
TV Guide Magazine: Having watched Susie incessantly insult you on Curb, it's a little odd to see her defend you so often during The Discussion.
David: She's my friend and a very intelligent actress. So I'm glad she's defending me. Naturally, I feel like a lot of my actions are defensible, so they should be defended by someone.
TV Guide Magazine: She's said you sometimes ruin her best takes by laughing.
David: I'm guilty. When people call me names, it just strikes me as funny. Because in real life, no one ever calls you an a--hole. So when someone actually does it to me, it amuses me to no end.
TV Guide Magazine: For the Seinfeld reunion, was it ticklish approaching Michael Richards about parodying his use of racial epithets?
David: He was hoping we would. If there's anything about last season I was happy about, it was that. Because I think it was really good for him, and the way it was done was right on the mark.
TV Guide Magazine: We never saw the whole reunion show-within-the-show. In the end, was it good?
I think it was. Yeah, it seems to have been successful. [Laughs] That would be my impression.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you ever imagine people would spend time debating your character's behavior like they do on The Discussion?
David: Of course not. There are some things about the show that I never realized were possible, such as people cringing. I thought either people would laugh at it or they wouldn't. Never did I think it would make people uncomfortable. But I consider myself to be on the right track if that's the case.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you spoken to Madonna lately?
David: [Chuckles] That's very personal.
TV Guide Magazine: How much of the conflict between you two was real?
David: It was all real. I was very impressed with her, to tell you the truth. She's very sharp, very bright, obviously beautiful and funny. She's a formidable woman. It would be hard to lie if you were in a relationship with her — she'd see through it very quickly.
TV Guide Magazine: If everyone behaved as you do on Curb, would society devolve into anarchy?
David: I think so. I don't think it could be done. But we should have a National Truth Day, just to try it out. [Laughs] Or Let's Behave Like Larry Day. That'd be fun. I'd like to see what would happen.
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