[This story contains spoilers from the season 12 premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm.]
Jeff Schaffer has so much to say about Curb Your Enthusiasm. And he has so much that he can’t say about Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Ever because the HBO darling’s comeback season in 2017, this author has been chatting with the chief producer about his collaborative course of with creator-star Larry David to ship three seasons filled with Larry-isms involving every part from MAGA hats to fatwa musicals, spite shops and visitor stars galore. Every season has led to a spectacular callback to the way it started, and each time the finale credit would roll, I might have the identical query: So, when will we get extra Curb?
Schaffer’s reply was all the time the identical: When Larry David (the actual one) will get extra concepts.
However season 12 is being billed because the final season of Curb. So this time, is Schaffer saying David has nothing left to gripe about? “Despite the fact that each season has been the ultimate season, that is the ultimate season,” he insists within the dialog under. “Though, I don’t assume Larry is completed with having spirited discourses with troublemakers on the west aspect of Los Angeles, so that you by no means know.”
He then provides, “If you watch the tip, it’ll make sense that it’s the finish.”
David himself has launched into an epic final season press tour for Curb in current days, telling The Hollywood Reporter on the season 12 premiere, “Individuals assume I’m mendacity — I’m not a liar. OK, yeah, 15 years in the past I stated it was the final season — that’s what I say after I don’t assume I’m going to provide you with one other one. However, that is it.”
Schaffer memorably instructed THR that they almost killed Larry off of Curb within the season 11 finale, however then modified their minds so they may return for one more go-around with season 12. Will Larry meet his true finish this time? Learn on under for a kickoff to THR’s ultimate spherical of Curb chats with Schaffer, as he unpacks all of the set-ups within the premiere (together with Larry’s mugshot being plotted effectively forward of Donald Trump’s arrest), reveals when and why they determined to finish their Emmy-winning comedy and offers non-answer solutions about if that is actually the tip of Curb‘s model of Larry David.
So we all the time discuss the way it’s the tip of Curb with every season — till Larry David will get extra concepts. At what level if you have been breaking season 12 did you two begin having conversations about it perhaps being the tip?
We didn’t begin scripting this season with the intent that this was going to be the final one. It wasn’t like, “Alright, what’s our ultimate season going to be?” We have been simply writing a narrative. And because the story advanced, it made sense that this was the collection finale. However it got here from an evolution of story, not from any grasp plan that this was going to be the final season.
However, there are surprising advantages. Now Larry has time to pursue his ardour tasks, like making erotic dioramas of Outdated Testomony scenes, breeding Dobermanns and refurbishing turn-of-the-century popcorn makers to their earlier glory. He can lastly do what he desires.
Did you simply provide you with these on the spot?
Two of them, sure.
I all the time examine your season premieres for clues. The present is so meticulously plotted to circle round to tales arrange earlier on. Was that course of totally different or the identical this time?
We didn’t comprehend it was going to be the tip, so we weren’t considering, “How will we wrap up a whole collection with this one scene, or this one episode?” Once we found out the place it was going to finish, it made sense it was the tip. As a result of the funniest model of the tip of this season was the tip of the collection. And that’s actually what it got here all the way down to. It simply labored.
That means, when it ends, the truth that there aren’t any extra episodes makes it funnier?
Sure. (Laughs.) That is the dance we do!
I missed us!
You retain asking; I adore it. Jokingly, I might inform you that we’re ending as a result of Larry has gone to a way more mild place, mentally and spiritually. Any longer, when he’s yelling at a pig parker, he’ll do it from a spot of affection, not hate. I can’t say something about how we’re going to finish. However if you watch the tip, it’ll make sense that it’s the finish.
So actually, there wasn’t a lot stress so that you can stick the touchdown because you came across it organically. Inform me what the dialog was like between you and Larry when the sunshine bulb went off.
We have been speaking about tales and we got here up with this humorous factor and we stated, “Oh, that’s a humorous option to finish the season.” After which we realized it was really a humorous option to finish the collection. Then it was like, “OK, then we’re going to finish the collection.”
What number of episodes did you may have left to work on at that time?
We have been proper within the center. However once we’re within the center, a variety of them are open on the desk. They’re by no means executed, since you’re all the time going to return and feed issues in. So we have been in the midst of the method.
How a lot did you then return and obsessively make adjustments to make it excellent?
Finales are all the time a tough factor, as a result of it’s a break-up. You’ve had this relationship for 20 years with some folks [from when the show launched in 2000] and a 20-year relationship together with your followers. And, hastily, you’re leaving them, and that’s all the time tough. A finale all the time has bizarre power to it. I feel what I’ve realized is that one of the best finales are actually humorous episodes of the present, not this different factor that’s not the present. In order that was one thing that we positively saved in our heads.
So, you felt good about it.
Oh, I feel it’s nice. It’s actually humorous. I want I might inform you extra, however Larry would actually come out of the ether and slit my throat.
And yell at me like he yells at Siri within the premiere (or Elmo on the At the moment present).
By the way in which, that Siri scene — we had written all of the episodes. We have been a number of months into taking pictures, and Larry had a little bit donnybrook with Siri when he was attempting to go to some restaurant, and we have been laughing about it and stated we must always do it as a scene. We had already shot a bunch of stuff and have been attempting to determine the place to place this scene, but it surely was so humorous we thought, what an excellent “welcome again to Curb” scene. So we moved it into episode one. It was a good way to inform all people, “Hey, we’re again.” It’s a basic Curb scene as a result of Larry likes to shoot the present the way in which he lives his life, which is that the world is in opposition to him. So Larry acquired into the automobile, and he knew that he was going to attempt to go to Wolf’s Glen restaurant. After which I’m Siri, speaking at him by a walkie. And, let’s simply frustrate the fuck out of him.
That’s you enjoying Siri?
Sure. I did it, after which we changed my voice with Siri.
Oh, that’s too enjoyable.
I’m actually speaking on a walkie with him, Googling phrases that rhyme with “c***.” And attempting to determine the definition of “bundt cake” as I’m going. (Laughs.) Nearly all of that’s from the primary take.
We’ve talked in regards to the stress you are feeling to all the time out-do the earlier season. Even earlier than you determined to finish the present, did you are feeling that very same stress with season 12?
Actually, each season I’m going into it considering, “Final season labored out fairly effectively, and I don’t understand how that occurred.” Each season, you’re a board of concepts and going, “How are we going to check to final season?” However all you may actually do is begin placing tales collectively. And Larry is so good and so courageous about simply beginning. He’ll simply begin with what’s round. I might be much more intimidated. However he simply goes. And by the way in which, we find yourself throwing out tons of stuff within the first few episodes. One thing we thought was attention-grabbing on day three, we understand we could not want anymore when writing on day 40.
In our THR cover story with Cheryl Hines, she stated that going into the season the solid was instructed it was probably the tip, however she didn’t actually consider it. When did you clue the remainder of the solid in and when did it turn into a actuality on set?
The best way Larry likes to work is that we write, then we shoot, then we edit. For essentially the most half. We actually don’t begin taking pictures till we’re executed writing. So we knew the place we have been going once we began, however the solid doesn’t get all of the episodes straight away. So I feel after they acquired the ultimate episode, it grew to become clear. However I’m nonetheless unsure a variety of them consider that it’s the tip. (Laughs.)
Your wholesome skepticism is totally merited. Everybody’s is. We’ve been saying we’re lifeless for a very long time.
There are issues like contracts that must be agreed upon so that you can come again. However HBO and Max chief Casey Bloys did say he’s leaving the door open, even when it’s a number of years from now. Are you trying ahead to ending and stepping away?
I simply don’t assume that Larry goes to cease going out and entering into hassle. So, we’ll see. In contrast to that promo, he’s not taking off in a rocket ship. He nonetheless lives in Los Angeles, and the folks of Los Angeles are nonetheless uniquely horrible, so it’s fairly fertile floor.
Would you be all in favour of a Curb film?
I feel Larry goes to maintain making beer, I feel we’re simply arguing about what sort of cup we’re pouring it into.
However a by-product would actually simply be Curb, except Larry isn’t in it and it’s a Maria Sofia (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) automobile the place he makes cameos.
I don’t assume he’s determined. By the way in which, each season has pure dips. We’re within the “we simply completed and so we’re executed” portion of life. However then there’s the “I’m going to a cocktail party” or “I acquired on a airplane” or “I had an encounter with a waiter” portion, and issues occur.
If you filmed the finale, Hines and among the different solid have stated it was emotional. Did you are feeling that finality if you wrapped?
I don’t have feelings like a traditional human.
Because of this you’re Larry’s associate. (Laughs.)
So, I sensed that different people round me have been feeling one thing, and I attempted my greatest to ape their expressions. I used to be actually simply fascinated about getting the photographs.
There have been a number of ultimate scenes we have been taking pictures the place you might positively really feel the load of the second. However you continue to want it to be the ultimate scene of Curb. In order that’s a very powerful factor: That the scene nonetheless works as a ultimate Curb scene, which implies it must be a humorous scene. You’re nonetheless attempting to make this the funniest scene you can also make it.
Was the ultimate scene the final one you filmed?
Sure. The solid was fairly emotional, however they have been emotional after, skilled and hilarious till the tip.
The present took six-ish years off; seven years from season to season airing. For those who took one other seven years off and got here again, are you able to image what that might seem like?
(Laughs.) I might in all probability be a mind in a jar, with a walkie connected to the jar and directing that method. I suppose Larry and I are very related in that we don’t actually take into consideration the previous, and we don’t actually take into consideration the long run very a lot. We simply sit within the now and complain.
How is not going to having Curb in your day-to-day life change you?
Proper now I nonetheless have a lot Curb in my day after day. I’m speaking to you from my workplace. Larry’s workplace is true subsequent door. I nonetheless see Larry on daily basis. Really, we nonetheless have two scenes to shoot — two days of taking pictures that we couldn’t do, attributable to actor availability stuff after which the strike. So we’re going to be taking pictures two days after we premiere for stuff within the again finish.
Are you able to trace at these two scenes?
Oh, no. I can’t inform you what it’s. And, it’s not earth-shattering, however we’re nonetheless going to be taking pictures the present, so it doesn’t really feel like I’m executed. We’re going to shoot these two days, after which race to get these items into these episodes. So, we’re nonetheless in work mode.
See, Curb isn’t executed!
We is not going to die. We will’t appear to complete the season!
By the way in which, thanks for the The Hollywood Reporter shout out within the opening seconds of the season 12 premiere episode.
I used to be very pleased with how we begin this season, as a result of we cowl a variety of floor actually shortly: The Younger Larry TV present is a success; the idiots of America love Maria Sofia; Irma [Tracey Ullman] is again — and that’s all inside like 90 seconds. There’s a lot floor to cowl, since you wish to discuss what occurred final yr and also you wish to transfer ahead. What higher option to touch upon the present standing of tv than for Maria Sofia to be a star?
Was it a no brainer to raise Keyla Monterroso Mejia after final season?
Now Larry has to cope with Maria Sofia in a completely new however equally unpalatable method. There was an change that acquired minimize from the present, however Larry at one level sighs and says, “Ugh, I want they’d simply cancel the present.” And Maria Sofia goes, “I do know. Then I may very well be in motion pictures!” I assumed Keyla did such an excellent job enjoying this model of Maria Sofia the place the success of the present has gone to her head. She drank so deeply from the diva fountain. However in actuality, even for all of the actress’ success, she’s nonetheless very new to the enterprise. We have been sitting within the dressing room earlier than taking pictures the Jimmy Kimmel scene and he or she was freaking out like, “I’m going to satisfy Jimmy Kimmel!” I used to be like, “Keyla, calm down, you are the star right here!” After which she knocked it out of the park. She did an excellent job completely flipping that character.
No matter occurred to the seed of an concept about spinning off and really making the Younger Larry present?
A very long time in the past we toyed with the Younger Larry present, after which we determined to fold it into the Curb universe. I don’t know if we’ll ever detach it once more now that it’s kind of locked in there.
Larry is unquestionably going to do one other season of Younger Larry. Once we discover Larry and Maria Sofia within the premiere, the present is between seasons. It acquired renewed, was a bit hit and he’s in writing mode.
Will we see the Younger Larry season two outcomes: How a lot time do you span this season?
It’s positively round. We thought it was such a humorous and surprising option to cope with that present, and what occurred on the finish of final yr. He’s pressured to do the present now. It’s a lot worse for Larry if it’s a success and he or she’s a star than it’s if all of it simply fell aside. He’s a prisoner of his personal success.
When did you wrap?
In April of 2023. We have been in put up, however then put up acquired delayed by the strikes. And in reality, the mugshot on the finish of the premiere was by no means within the present once we wrote it and once we shot it. However as we have been sitting round with the strike and we couldn’t do something, the Orange Menace acquired arrested in Atlanta and I instructed Larry, “You bought arrested in Atlanta. That loopy Orange Asshole acquired arrested in Atlanta. We must always do the mugshot.” So then we needed to wait till the strike was over to even do the photograph and put it within the present. I do know it looks like that was all the time the grasp plan and that we have been constructing in direction of that, but it surely’s actually only a byproduct of ready round and it fell in our laps.
How a lot bronzer did you placed on David for that mugshot?
An excessive amount of. After which we needed to tone it down. We needed to straddle the road of it really being Larry’s mugshot. However I feel we acquired sufficient with the scowl that everyone knew what we have been doing.
Curb has gotten extra political in current seasons. What fired you up in regards to the Georgia election regulation that made you wish to set the entire premiere round it?
Proper from the very starting once we have been throwing round concepts, Larry stated, “You recognize there’s this loopy regulation in Georgia the place you may’t give meals or water to somebody in a voting line.” And he stated, “I feel it’d be actually humorous if I acquired arrested for doing that.” In order that was one of many first issues we knew could be within the first episode. It’s simply loopy we took lengthy sufficient that Trump was lastly capable of get arrested. In each season, there’s normally one hospital, one demise, one jail. We attempt to restrict ourselves.
You had a joke about Israel within the premiere. With this present releasing amid the struggle and after the occasions of Oct. 7, despite the fact that it was written and made lengthy earlier than, do you assume Curb and Larry can have an effect for the Jewish neighborhood?
That line was shot in 2022. We’re all the time creatures of our second, however then with the strike [we got delayed]. It looks like we wrote this season a lot nearer to when it’s airing than we did, however we wrote it a very long time in the past. We simply needed to cease for some time; we couldn’t edit; we couldn’t do loops. All the stuff in regards to the Israel scenario, I want it may very well be solved with actually good Palestinian chicken. However it looks like even actually good rooster isn’t going to repair this.
Was there something that felt dated and needed to be edited out after the strikes have been resolved?
There’s nothing that ended up feeling outdated. There’s really one other second that I can’t inform you about the place actuality ended up mimicking scenes that we shot with a really huge movie star.
An enormous movie star who you wouldn’t anticipate was on the present and was superior. And the stuff that occurs within the present ended up taking place to a sure extent in actual life. We noticed it on the information. It will likely be so apparent if you see the episode.
What’s the season 12 visitor star listing?
Some favorites are returning: Vince Vaughn is again, Mr. Takahashi (Dana Lee), Auntie Rae (Leon Black’s aunt performed by Ellia English), who we haven’t seen in a number of seasons. Mocha Joe (Saverio Guerra). Tracey Ullman as Irma. After which there are some nice individuals who we are able to’t consider we by no means started working with earlier than: Steve Buscemi, Troy Kotsur, Sienna Miller, Matthew Berry, Rob Riggle and Annie Mumolo, Ike Barinholtz, Greg Kinnear, Sanaa Lathan, who’re all superior. And there are a number of others I might like to inform you about that I can’t, who blew it out of the park.
How a lot will we see different members of the principle ensemble who we didn’t see within the premiere — Hines, Ted Danson, Richard Lewis? [JB Smoove, Susie Essman and Jeff Garlin’s characters travel with Larry to Atlanta.]
All of their regular quantities. It’s simply that the character of this Atlanta present made it geographically not possible. However you’ll see a variety of them.
What different tidbits are you able to tease, something you probably did this season that you just’ve by no means executed earlier than?
Hopefully all of the jokes we did this yr we’ve by no means executed earlier than! We all the time discover ourselves in new, unusual conditions. There are positively some huge set piece form of issues that we haven’t executed earlier than. Sadly, we’re not lastly placing on Fatwa! The Musical! on Broadway, however there have been another huge set items with a lot of solid which are actually attention-grabbing.
Larry going to that celebration in Atlanta was as a result of he will get these form of gives on a regular basis, to indicate as much as have lunch or come to events. We’d all the time chuckle about how disappointing that man who paid all that cash for Larry could be on the finish of the night time. We talked about that for years. I requested, “What would you even do?” He stated, “I’d take some photographs, shake some palms. I’d be cordial. However, no speeches, no stand-up. I’d be cordial.” And we began laughing: “What should you didn’t receives a commission since you weren’t cordial?” And that’s how he ended up in Atlanta.
In order we finish episode one, Larry flew all the way in which to Atlanta and didn’t receives a commission as a result of he wasn’t cordial and acquired thrown in jail.
I additionally love the housekeeper stuff on this episode.
How did he get his garments down from the tree?
(Laughs.) He paid somebody to do it. Who hasn’t felt judged by the lodge housekeeper? However by the way in which, I see their aspect. As a result of if you wish to know what man is like with none legal guidelines or ethical guardrails, depart him alone in a lodge room on a enterprise journey. The opposite factor I’m happy with is that tip cash [a $10 bill for the housekeeper] really went into the bathroom with out visible results or particular results; simply take one with the hairdryer. You get weirdly happy with these issues. I assumed we have been going to be there for lots longer.
It was additionally nice to have Ellia English again as Auntie Rae. She and Larry are actually humorous collectively, and it simply labored out so completely with the form of her head [stretching out his glasses].
What number of pairs of substitute glasses did you check out earlier than those you picked?
Like 30 pairs. Those we selected felt like the right mixture of cat girl and librarian.
There are some things within the works, in phases of improvement. However I’m actually nonetheless engaged on Curb proper now. I’m very enthusiastic about this season. I feel it’s actually humorous. First episodes are all the time tough, as a result of the pure rhythm is to arrange stuff and pay it off on the finish of the present. However if you arrange episode one, you additionally must arrange issues for the entire season. Larry and I all the time discuss how the toughest is organising a season arc and a present. I don’t wish to spoil something, however there are such a lot of issues this episode units up that you’ll perceive later.
How do you are feeling about launching your goodbye tour, the place you’ll be requested about your feelings and ultimate season spoilers?
One of many essences of Larry that I feel is so nice is that we’ve kind of lived by this mantra the place the reality is best than a lie, however a extremely good lie is best than the reality. So if I’ve a extremely good lie, I’ll go along with that as an alternative of the reality! That’s what the present is. We make stuff up after which stress check one another’s lies till now we have an episode.
What about your partnership with Larry, will you miss that?
We’re nonetheless in our places of work. And we’re nonetheless speaking about humorous concepts. Issues are nonetheless taking place to us; we’re nonetheless coming into the workplace saying, “Oh my God, you’re not going to consider what occurred.” [Schaffer gives a peek at their offices, complete with dry erase boards and a “Ha ha ha” large painting.] We’re nonetheless right here. We’re nonetheless struggling petty indignities. We’re not going wherever.
Do you are feeling such as you caught the touchdown, and can you permit us wanting extra?
I hope so! As a result of the choice just isn’t nice. “Oh, glad that’s over with!” Sure, very pleased with how the season ends. I feel the finale is a extremely humorous episode of Curb and a extremely good finish to a extremely humorous present.
The season 12 premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm is now streaming on Max, with new episodes releasing Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO and Max.