Larry David’s Wild Media Ride Ahead of ‘Curb’ Final Season

The incomparable Larry David has never been one to shy away from a bit of self-promotion. And this week’s run-up to the 12th and (allegedly) final season of his long-running HBO comedy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, has been no exception. In fact, from throttling a beloved Muppet to tanking a cringe-inducing interview at his own premiere event, you might say that this time, L.D. has outdone himself. Here’s a look at his wild media appearances ahead of season 12 of the Emmy-winning hit.

Larry vs. Elmo

I don’t think anything like Man Throttles Muppet on Morning Television was an anticipated headline this week. But, well, here we are, after David just couldn’t take Elmo’s take on the importance of maintaining mental health anymore. The high-pitched little monster, whose innocent social media post early this week somehow made him an unwitting focal point of our national malaise, was on NBC’s Today to talk about it. That’s when Elmo ran afoul of Curb’s central curmudgeon, who lost it then and physically attacked the puppet, in what appears to have been an unscripted moment. Then, following what was more-or-less an apology that the Today hosts forced him to make to the Sesame Street star, David boldly walked back that mea culpa while explaining his side of the story on Late Night with Seth Meyers later in the day, recounting his inner monologue before the attack (“I don’t think I can take another second of this!”) And yes, we too think this still-evolving situation is starting to feel like a potential premise for a 13th season of Curb.

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Larry (and Susie) vs. Morning Joe 

The joy of watching L.D. in interviews, media appearances, or otherwise finding him out in the wild, is trying to discern how much daylight there is between Larry David, the guy, and Larry David, the character. It often feels that Curb’s kind of confrontation will break through at any moment. This was the case in a loose, fun and sometimes tense roundtable on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday. As David and his co-star, the ever-plucky Susie Essman (who plays Susie), fielded questions about the series from host Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist and the rest of the roundtable as it segued heavily into personal commentary. David quipped, in quality form, jokingly biting back but kept the mood breezy — Essman, however was not shy in making things tense and uncomfortable in that specifically cringy, Curb-y manner; it was enough for one of the hosts to say, “Larry, are you always accompanied by Susie, who translates for you?”

Larry vs. His Castmates

At the season 12 premiere in L.A. this week, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with David and several of his castmates to ask the burning questions: Is this really the end of Curb? After all, as co-star Jeff Garlin pointed out at the event, “Every year there was a chance we were not going to come back, every year.” David was adamant, though, that after 24 years, this is it. “I’m not lying. People think I’m lying — I’m not a liar,” he told THR. “OK yeah, 15 years ago I said it was the last season — that’s what I say when I don’t think I’m going to come up with another one. But, this is it.” Yet speaking on whether this is believable, multiple cast members expressed their past or current feelings of doubt. “I felt like I had heard that before, because since season one that’s what Larry has told me,” Cheryl Hines, who plays David’s ex-wife on the show, revealed. J.B. Smoove, David’s odd couple housemate on the show, was far more blunt. “I don’t believe that man,” he declared. “He’s going to sit there and get bored at the house, say ‘I’ve got to do something.’ He did take off six years one time, he did a play, did a movie, but it’s therapeutic — how do you take a therapeutic show away from people?”

Larry vs. Red Carpet Reporting

To be entirely clear, red carpets are utter chaos. Trying to conduct an interview or thoughtfully answer questions under hot, blinding lights as fans are screaming, celebrities are being ushered past and publicist’s clipboards are flying at one’s face is a true nightmare. This week, in a blessedly brief interview with THR sibling publication Variety at Curb’s season 12 premiere, Mr. L.D. managed to convey this experience’s true awfulness. The Q&A starts off with a thud — the wince on David’s face clearly says that whether or not this is Curb’s final season (and why?) has now become his least favorite topic. And then the whole attempt to grab some funny answers with rapid-fire questions just nosedives at warp speed. By the end, David is begging for an HBO rep to spirit him away. For fans who bask in the deep cringe and sheer discomfort at the center of Curb’s humor — yet have wondered, can it get worse? — look no further than this short and deeply uncomfortable clip.

Season 12 of Curb Your Enthusiasm premieres Feb. 4 and releases new episodes Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO and Max.

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