After creating what is generally considered to be the greatest (and quite possibly, the most profitable) sitcom of all time in “Seinfeld,” Larry David could very easily have remained mostly-anonymous and spent the rest of his life cashing paychecks. But instead, the comedian/writer created a trailblazing HBO program that celebrates its 15th anniversary this week.
In classic Larry David style, he has never officially said that the show is off the air, likely because he wants to avoid the “Seinfeld” hype that made the last episode so notorious. And although he’d probably roll his eyes at any attempt to look back nostalgically on “Curb,” here are 15 classic clips from the show that will make you miss his comedic, cringe-worthy anti-sitcom.
15. ‘The Palestinian Chicken Place’
In Los Angeles, there’s always that next great type of food that everyone is eager to try. Larry David clearly understands how Los Angeles is such a food-based culture, and in this clip he somehow ties together yummy chicken, his love life and anti-Semitism as only Larry could.
14. ‘You Punked Out’
This is the show that made JB Smoove a star. Most series would have made the African-American Leon a reactionary character, one who was always outraged as Larry said politically incorrect things a la Archie Bunker. But instead, “Curb” and veteran comedian Smoove wisely portrayed Larry’s frequent houseguest as an outspoken partner-in-crime, the type of person who not only makes Larry feel vindicated in his outrage, but pushes him to take things one step further. This hilariously profane scene is a classic example.
13. ‘The Rash’
Another example of a classic “Curb” formula, this NC-17 plotline has Larry meeting a child actress — and then learning way too much information about a certain itchy body part. Like Jerry Seinfeld, all you can do is drop your jaw to the floor and watch. The payoff when Larry explains things to his doctor is priceless.
12. ‘Breast Implants’
Larry becomes convinced that some money he loaned a friend was used to purchase breast implants for his daughter. Larry inserts foot in mouth. So awkward, so brilliant.
11. ‘The Gay Kid’
Another variation on the “kids get Larry into trouble” theme, but this one is a classic. Addressing the hot-button debate of whether a person is born gay, rather than picking sides Larry David simply went straight for the funny bone.
10. ‘Larry vs Susie’
This one is more of a compilation than a scene, but these clips show two of the greatest “Curb” characters: Jeff Garlin’s nebbish best friend and his maniacal, profane wife Susie. Every time comedian Susie Essman opened her mouth, viewers were assured of two things: The “F”-word would somehow make it into her sentence, and it would be hilarious.
9. ‘Christian Slater Loves Caviar’
Larry David isn’t like his “Curb” character in real life, and exhibit A is the fact that he has so many friends who were always happy to appear on the show. In one classic bit, Larry discovers that Christian Slater has a thing for expensive fish eggs. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of George Constanza’s classic double-dip encounter. In another way, the moment is classic Larry David.
8. ‘It is Possible for Black People to Have Other Jobs’
It’s an honest mistake that could happen to anyone. On the other hand, it is the kind of thing that only happens to Larry. But when he sees a man in a suit standing next to the valet stand and hands him a claim check, Larry quickly finds himself in a world of hurt. And of course, the hilarious Wanda Sykes is there to witness it.
7. ‘The Survivor’
It takes an adept comedic hand to take the worst atrocity in human history and make it funny. But much as “Seinfeld” did with “Schindler’s List,” Larry David made the word “survivor” take on a different level as a concentration camp survivor found himself arguing about snacks with a reality-show refugee. “Have you ever seen our show? It was called the Holocaust!”
6. ‘Michael J. Fox is Shaking’
As everyone knows, actor Michael J. Fox suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and most people would have the common sense to be sensitive of that while speaking with him. Larry, however, is not most people — so when he catches Fox shaking his head, he wonders whether it’s because he was disapproving, or if it was the Parkinson’s. Kudos to Michael J. Fox, who is so eager to laugh at the whole thing that he goes to answer the phone and says “I’ll be back in two shakes.”
5. ‘Larry vs. The Bluetooth Guy’
Sometime around the middle of the “Curb” run, people on Bluetooth headsets began popping up everywhere. Thankfully, the ear devices have died down a bit, and we should obviously give all the credit to Larry David for this hilarious scene showing how to shut down loud Bluetoothers.
4. ‘The Taster Abuser’
Everyone loves frozen yogurt, and everyone hates the people who keep getting sample after sample while folks wait in line behind them. As Larry begins heckling one such woman, it is impossible to not crack a smile. “Banana?!?” he screams when she asks for another sample. “It might taste like, let me guess: Banana?”
3. ‘Funkhouser is an Orphan’
Another delightful supporting “Curb” actor was Bob “Super Dave” Einstein as Funkhouser. In what might be his funniest moment, at one point the character tried to convince Larry that he was an orphan.
2. ‘Bill Buckner Makes the Play’
Every baseball fan knows the sad story of Bill Buckner, a tremendous player who will unfortunately always be remembered for making one of the biggest errors in sports history. The whole Season 8 episode with Buckner is a classic, but the highlight is undoubtedly when a baby gets thrown from a burning building — and Buckner makes a great catch!
1. ‘The Handicapped Stall’
Between “Seinfeld” and “Curb,” Larry has pioneered some amazing scenes about bathroom etiquette. In this one, he commits a transgression that many of us can identify with: He’s lured in by the roomy embrace of the handicap stall. But only Larry would have the bad luck to come out and be confronted by a man in a wheelchair — and then argue with him. “Honestly,” Larry tries to explain.”I haven’t seen a handicapped person in a bathroom, maybe like ever.”