How Curb Your Enthusiasm Manifested Bruce Springsteen’s Postponed Tour

[This story contains spoilers from season 12, episode nine of Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Ken/Kendra.”]

Life imitated artwork once more with the newest Curb Your Enthusiasm. Or, should you ask present boss Jeff Schaffer, “life imitated foolish artwork.”

The foolish artwork he’s referring to is when Curb‘s Larry David (performed by the actual Larry David) gave Bruce Springsteen COVID, forcing him to cancel his music tour. Springsteen had made a short cameo earlier within the season in “The Lawn Jockey” episode, the place the Boss praised Larry for turning into a liberal hero after he (unknowingly) stood up against a Georgia 2021 voting law that makes it unlawful to supply meals or water to voters in line on the polls.

“That’s Larry David’s center identify: Larry ‘Involvement’ David,” stated Springsteen on CNN when making his first Curb cameo.

Now, within the ninth episode of season 12 — the penultimate episode earlier than the Emmy-winning HBO comedy’s sequence finale this weekend — Springsteen returns. Within the present, the Boss is so impressed with Larry’s political stance that he desires to satisfy the Seinfeld creator in actual life.

However once they sit down at a desk collectively within the house of the Greenes (Susie Essman and Jeff Garlin), a number of issues go afoot. First, Springsteen’s supervisor Ken (performed by trans comic Ian Harvie) identifies himself as being previously Kendra Morris and recollects how they used to have intercourse (and at all times on the ground). This prompts one of many episode’s finest traces when Springsteen is aghast at Larry being a “ground fucker,” and Schaffer says that line was all of the Boss.

“Bruce telling Larry, ‘I by no means took you for a ground fucker’ is considered one of my favourite moments ever — like, in life,” recollects Schaffer when chatting with The Hollywood Reporter concerning the episode. “We knew we had been going to be speaking about ground fucking, however that was all Bruce. That was Bruce chiming in, which was superb. We had been like, ‘What! He’s so humorous.’”

Schaffer provides, “If the music factor doesn’t work out, he undoubtedly has a future in comedy.”

As a make-good, Larry David brings the masseuse he offended (performed by Tania Gunadi) to Bruce Springsteen’s home so she will be able to snap a photograph of the Boss, who’s sick with COVID.

John Johnson/HBO

The uncomfortable trade finally ends up slicing Larry’s meet-and-greet with the Boss brief however not earlier than a mix-up over their water glasses. The following day, Larry comes down with COVID, and he quickly hears on the TV that Springsteen can be sick with COVID, is blaming Larry David for giving it to him and has to cancel a number of reveals on his present tour. Immediately anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb ship the information that Springsteen’s well being is at risk, and now the world may be very mad at Larry David.

This, after all, won’t bode effectively for Larry’s popularity for his upcoming trial, the place he faces as much as one 12 months in jail and a fantastic of $10,000 for obstructing the election course of within the state of Georgia. He additionally was threatened on this episode with being “Me Too-ed” after he offended his masseuse.

The COVID Curb plotline was written in 2022, they usually filmed the scene with Springsteen in someday in December 2022, on the improv comedy’s closing day of taking pictures that 12 months. “It was a very long time to maintain that one secret,” says Schaffer.

Then, flash-forward to February 2023, when Schaffer and David are enhancing the season, and Springsteen in actual life finally ends up suspending three of his reveals in a single week “attributable to sickness.” Then, in April 2023, Springsteen and spouse Patti Scialfa come down with COVID. And in August 2023, the Boss finally ends up suspending extra reveals after having “taken sick.” In September, it was then revealed he had been identified with peptic ulcer illness, and he ended up canceling all remaining 2023 dates so he could recover.

“Bruce bought sick and needed to cancel his tour, and I simply turned to Larry and stated, ‘You may have a tremendous capacity to manifest adverse issues. You’re the supreme adverse manifester,’” Schaffer recollects. “I keep in mind going, ‘Oh my God, it’s precisely what we did.’ Within the present, we are saying he had issues so his well being was actually in danger. It performed out identical to we stated — which I really feel horrible about! The excellent news is he bought higher, and he was hilarious. Joyful ending.”

Springsteen with David, Ian Harvie and Jeff Garlin in Curb Your Enthusiasm.

John Johnson/HBO

Schaffer says once they initially reached out to Springsteen’s supervisor, they by no means thought the visitor position would materialize. However shortly after the pitch, the Boss stated sure; he was a fan of the present. After they wrapped, they despatched Springsteen his scenes, as a result of the Curb staff was so pleased with the ultimate outcome.

“He cherished them, which was nice. He was placing numerous religion in us,” says Schaffer. “He’d seen the present, however lots of people haven’t labored the way in which we do, the place it’s not all scripted. Numerous issues get stated. And we stored telling him, ‘We’ll use one of the best stuff,’ so he may strive all the things. And he performed round. He knew the fundamental beats, however he was in there including and slugging round. We confirmed him the scenes as a result of we had been so pleased with how they turned out.”

The plot round how Larry likes to have intercourse finally ends up circling round when his ex-wife Cheryl (played by Cheryl Hines) calls him out for mendacity to her about why he needed to have intercourse on the ground. (“It’s sizzling, like within the films,” she says he informed her.)

“Larry being a ground fucker as a result of he desires to keep away from miserable post-coital dialog was a narrative from considered one of our consulting producers that we thought was actually humorous. Ian Harvie had been on our radar for some time, and we knew he was the precise individual for this half. He was excellent,” says Schaffer. “Then as we had been writing, it grew to become clear that the explanation the restaurant they ate at ended up getting a C score needed to be as a result of a waiter was fucking on the ground. It’s excellent that after listening to how vile a human being is for not eager to have any emotional attachment to anybody you’ve simply had intercourse with, Larry’s response is just not that he’ll change his methods however that he’d love to satisfy this man. ‘We’ve one thing in widespread.’ So, I don’t suppose Larry has realized his lesson.”

Schaffer nonetheless marvels that they bought Springsteen to do such a giant position and coyly teases that the Boss may make some form of return in subsequent week’s finale.

“Everybody was so excited that Bruce had that temporary cameo in episode two, and Larry and I had been sitting there considering, ‘In case you guys solely knew that he’s doing all these scenes in present 9.’ We had been capable of shoot numerous stuff with Bruce within the someday we had him.”

He provides, “Issues come again to hang-out Larry each week. His life is a comedy haunted mansion, all the things boomerangs.”

Under, with just one episode remaining earlier than Curb indicators off for good (perhaps, hopefully not), Schaffer takes THR by way of some extra highlights from the penultimate episode in season 12, “Ken/Kendra.”

  • One other tidbit on Springsteen: the Don Henley comparability was written by the Curb writers, however the Boss knew the Eagles frontman would “be cool with it.” Schaffer says, “We wrote that as a rock icon form of mad lib.”
  • JB Smoove’s Leon “didn’t wish to get COVID as a result of he didn’t know what it was going to do to his dick,” says Schaffer of the hilarity that ensues when Larry’s housemate desperately tries to keep away from getting sick. “We regularly prefer to shock Larry. I didn’t inform him that JB was going to come back by way of the home in a gasoline masks with an arm full of bathroom paper,” says Schaffer, revealing that they usually attempt to catch their star and creator off guard to get his most sincere response. “Larry interacts with the world, and the world’s in opposition to him. So I create the world in opposition to him, for optimum shock. His reactions are so good.”
  • A fantastic instance of a kind of reactions comes within the epic staircase war-of-words between Larry and his oft-nemesis, Susie Greene (Essman): “That Larry-Susie combat within the stairwell is one for the ages. Them arguing that one another is a virus, capped off by Susie saying, ‘Larry, you cold-hearted, COVID-carrying cocksucker,’ is considered one of my favourite Larry-Susie arguments of all time.” Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was really on set that day of filming. “He bought a large earful of uncooked Curb,” says Schaffer, including that the virus insults had been all hurled in a single take. However, “you’re seeing on Larry’s facet each body earlier than he laughs. Larry’s response to Susie calling him that was taken from a unique response as a result of he was laughing so arduous. Larry is at all times going to blink first with Susie. Susie screaming at him is his kryptonite.”
  • A restaurant being downgraded from an A to a C score mid-meal is a plot plucked from actual life, when Schaffer, David, former writers Alec Berg and David Mandel, and different Curb writers had been out for lunch in Palisades Village when filming season six. “We watched them change the letter proper in entrance of us and nobody may consider it. They simply modified the letter in entrance of Larry David and the Curb writers, what do they suppose goes to occur? Speak about low-hanging, most likely unwashed fruit. We at all times needed to do it. I do know it appears unimaginable, however it actually is true.”
  • The identify of the e-book written by Younger Larry director Les McCrabb (performed by Matt Berry), “To Cling a Lantern On It,” originates from Schaffer’s pre-Seinfeld job at Witt/Thomas Productions the place he labored on “a present starring an unknown comedian named Jeff Garlin after which on Herman’s Head.” Schaffer says the present was stuffed with idioms that find yourself displaying up within the fictional Curb script, like, “America doesn’t wish to see that” and “hold a lantern on it.” Actually “hacky sitcom stuff,” he says. “We might try this jokingly when writing, and so once we wanted a title for this e-book written by this form of journeyman director, I used to be like, it needs to be ‘Cling a Lantern on It.’ I wrote a stable two pages and labored out some emotions of what it’s like understanding at a schmaltzy place (laughing). The precise stuff that Seinfeld and Curb is the antidote for.”
  • The fictional “Vonderdonk” cheese from last week’s episode is now really being bought at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills (obtainable throughout retailer hours). “I’m positive the cheese is great, simply don’t depart it in your automobile,” quips Schaffer.
  • In different real-life information, Felicity Huffman booked her first TV gig following her position within the faculty admissions scandal and after Lori Loughlin parodied herself with a Curb cameo earlier this season. “I can’t think about that anybody is trying to us for hour-long developments, however I’m very comfortable that Lori bought to be the primary to come back again triumphantly,” says Schaffer.
  • With one week left earlier than the finale, Schaffer responds to Garlin lately sharing how emotional he bought when the manager producer-director referred to as reduce on the ultimate scene. “I keep in mind doing a number of further takes to ensure we bought it as a result of it was necessary,” says Schaffer of subsequent week’s ending. “As soon as we did, we had been carried out. And, who desires it to be carried out? Then I noticed, somebody has to say one thing! So I checked out Larry, as a result of village was proper subsequent to the set, and stated, ‘Are you good?’ He stated ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ So I stated, ‘That’s a wrap on the best sitcom ever.’ Everybody applauded and hugged. Then I rotated and Jeff was yeah, simply sitting quietly off to the facet crying. Very candy.”
  • How will Curb tie all of it collectively within the sequence finale? “It’s undoubtedly longer than our normal episodes. We’ve loads to say,” says Schaffer, at all times tight-lipped about any spoilers. “I can’t consider that we’ve arrived at this second. However I believe it’s been a extremely energetic season and the finale is a really humorous becoming finish to all of it.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm releases its sequence finale Sunday at 10 p.m. on HBO and Max. Read THR’s chats with Schaffer from the season here.

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