The 12 Finest Curb Your Enthusiasm Cameos of All Time
Final October marked 20 years since Curb Your Enthusiasm debuted as an hour-long particular that may quickly morph right into a long-running collection. Although there have been a number of hiatuses between seasons—presumably for creator Larry David to mine his anxieties for compelling story arcs—Curb has frequently returned so as to add its personal contemporary dose of awkwardness to an evolving tradition.
All through its run, Curb has constantly featured notable, usually pleasant casting of well-known faces in surprising and uncomfortable conditions. These visitor stars have ranged from area of interest comedians but to ascertain themselves to comedy legends giving sudden performances. In anticipation of Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s 10th season, premiering on HBO on Jan. 19 and set to incorporate cameos from Jon Hamm, Laverne Cox and Jane Krakowski, TIME revisits probably the most memorable of these many cameos.
Although noteworthy names like Ted Danson or members of the solid of Seinfeld, which David co-created, present up on Curb usually, we’ve excluded from this record anybody whose common inclusion makes them extra of a featured participant than strictly a cameo. Under, the 12 performers who most stunned us once they appeared—and left us wanting extra once they left.
Within the third episode of the primary season, Larry and Cheryl David (Cheryl Hines) attend a cocktail party hosted by a former porn star named Gil, performed by Bob Odenkirk. Although the episode, which aired in 2000, passed off after Odenkirk turned a considerably acquainted face together with his influential HBO sketch comedy present Mr. Present, he had not but damaged into the mainstream.
Within the episode, titled “Porno Gil,” Odenkirk’s Gil tells awkward tales about his previous work. The episode sticks the touchdown as Larry later stumbles on one in all Gil’s pornographic motion pictures (classily titled Motel Dick). The visitor spot is a hilarious instance of Odenkirk’s absurd comedic stylings, that are much better seen than described. It will be nearly one other decade earlier than Odenkirk took on the basic character Saul Goodman (née Jimmy McGill), first in Breaking Dangerous after which because the eponymous character in Higher Name Saul. However his flip in early Curb is a good reminder that Odenkirk at all times deserves extra display screen time.
In Season 2, Larry makes a catastrophic outing to a Los Angeles Lakers sport, the place he has court-side seats. There, his outstretched legs get in the way in which of Shaquille O’Neal’s hustle, sending the legendary basketball participant to the bottom after which to the hospital. Shunned by family and friends for injuring the participant, Larry takes it upon himself to go to Shaq within the hospital and attempt to make amends.
Shaq’s cameo in Curb will not be solely nice as a result of the circumstances round it are so ridiculous, but in addition as a result of the athlete’s flip is so charming and genuinely humorous. Come for Shaq insisting that peanut butter has dairy in it, keep for his stanning of Seinfeld.
In Season 3, Larry’s incapacity to respect different folks’s home guidelines results in the firing of a peculiar nanny, performed by Saturday Evening Stay alum Cheri Oteri. It’s an unforgettable portrayal by Oteri, full of outstanding improv in a classically outlandish Curb character.
Within the episode, Oteri’s nanny visits Larry’s home after getting fired for letting him use a bunch’s non-public rest room. The nanny instantly appears a bit off, having admitted to spending years working within the Six Flags Magic Mountain Looney Tunes Lodge. Her screws hold loosening as Larry tries to pawn her off on buddies Jeff and Susie (Jeff Garlin and Susie Essman), each to assuage his guilt and to fill their newfound want for a nanny. Issues, as they do in Curb, come crashing down, however fortunately on this episode, there’s loads of discarded sponge cake to interrupt the autumn.
Wanda Sykes’ Curb appearances, during which she performs a savage model of herself, at all times able to spar with Larry, are among the many many pleasures of the present’s casting. From the primary season to the newest, Sykes sporadically reveals up as each a buddy to Cheryl and a foil to her husband.
An enormously gifted comic in her personal proper, Sykes’ risky chemistry with Larry makes her an unforgettable Curb cameo. Larry’s relationship with girls on the present is commonly contentious, however most characters choose to disregard and escape his relentless egotism. Sykes, like Susie Inexperienced, affords the final word problem to Larry’s boundless, ill-advised confidence. She is the immovable object to his unstoppable power, and it’s a number of enjoyable to look at.
Curb’s fourth season is all about Larry starring in a Broadway manufacturing of The Producers. And although his Max Bialystock is initially performed reverse Ben Stiller’s Leo Bloom, when David Schwimmer takes over the function of Bloom mid-season, one of many standout Curb cameos is born.
The most effective cameos take a face everybody already is aware of and imbue it with a character or attribute that viewers don’t see coming. Schwimmer’s look on Curb coincided with the tip of Pals. He had spent 10 years as goofy, dorky Ross Geller, and it was sudden, to say the least, when he confirmed up as a stuffy, grumpy foil to the bouncy, boyish Larry David. We had already seen Stiller taking part in a jerky model of himself in lots of earlier cameos; Schwimmer’s dour portrayal was a welcome present.
Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft
You’ll be able to’t speak about Curb’s fourth season with out discussing Mel Brooks’ function as himself. It will be sufficient for the comedy legend to have proven up in Curb in any respect, only for the pleasure of seeing his face, however Brooks’ look affords way more. In addition to being a pleasant model of himself and giving musical lovers a peek behind The Producers, Brooks additionally delivers the season-long arc’s large punchline. And it’s one in all Curb’s smartest.
Regardless of Larry angering his co-stars and lazing his means by way of the rehearsal interval, Brooks pushes for him to play Max Bialystock all season lengthy, a lot to the chagrin of these round him. Larry appears to show these naysayers proper on opening night time, which takes place within the season finale. He fully forgets his strains in one of many present’s early scenes and the viewers heads for the door en masse. That’s when Brooks reveals that he solid Larry as a result of he knew it was a foul thought and would set him freed from the present. Brooks needed the present to fail for his personal private achieve, very similar to the plot of The Producers itself.
Of their fantastic look, Brooks and his off-screen spouse Anne Bancroft (who made the cameo a yr earlier than she died) rejoice because the present appears to crash and burn. And as Larry makes use of the forgotten strains to his benefit, delighting the returning viewers, Brooks and Bancroft wail over their cursed luck.
Curb’s fourth season was one for cameos, and we’d be remiss to omit the temporary however memorable look of Stephen Colbert within the season finale. Colbert performs a New York vacationer who asks Larry to take an image of him and his spouse. A spat erupts as Larry feels unable to take an image and Colbert realizes they are going to see Larry in The Producers throughout their journey. With dramatic aptitude, Colbert casts a curse on Larry, and predicts he’ll fail within the present.
Colbert’s Curb cameo occurred whereas he was nonetheless one in all Jon Stewart’s rotating “reporters” on The Every day Present, earlier than he made the leap to The Colbert Report. Although he’s solely on Curb for a couple of minutes, the comic’s electrical comedic power proves unforgettable.
Dustin Hoffman/Sacha Baron Cohen
Dustin Hoffman and Sacha Baron Cohen pretty take up one spot on this cameo record; they seem facet by facet throughout the identical scene, each credited as “Larry’s Guides” in introducing Larry to the afterlife.
The entire of Season 5 revolves round Larry vowing to alter his life after a near-death expertise and deciding to donate a kidney to his finest buddy, comic Richard Lewis. The arc ends with an issue on the working desk and Larry really dying. Enter Hoffman and Cohen, who considerably patiently welcome Larry right into a heavenly place. Their endurance will get examined, nonetheless, as Larry stays Larry, even in paradise. They finally resolve Larry should wait on his place within the clouds, pushing aside his dream of assembly Seinfeld-fan Marilyn Monroe and holding the hair that blessedly appeared on his head.
Hoffman and Cohen aren’t on the display screen for lengthy, however they function greater than stunt casting. Their humor construct alongside the stress, and it’s good enjoyable watching an angel argue with the newly deceased over how to correctly store DVDs. (The scene admittedly performs a bit in a different way all these years later; in 2017, a number of girls accused Hoffman of sexual misconduct spanning a number of many years, to which the actor responded with a mixture of denial and apology.)
In Season 6, after years of struggling, Cheryl leaves Larry. A lot of the plot of the subsequent two seasons offers with Larry attempting to win her again in numerous methods. Maybe probably the most outlandish scheme, and probably the most damaging to anyone character, entails Steve Coogan’s cameo within the episode titled “The Therapists.” Coogan performs Larry’s therapist, who believes himself to be in one thing of a battle of wits in opposition to Cheryl’s therapist. He sends Larry on a mission to undermine the opposite therapist’s recommendation, leading to a comedy of errors. It’s a basic, twisted Curb story of schemes gone improper, resulting in dangerous luck and worse penalties. The twist is that it’s largely Coogan who pays the worth as an alternative of Larry.
At first of the episode, Coogan performs a pretentious, snotty character, a well-recognized angle for the performer. Nevertheless, in what nearly appears like penance for his lengthy profession of pompous portrayals, he’s put by way of the wringer on Curb. He’s belittled for giving dangerous recommendation, he’s humiliated when he’s arrested for setting Larry as much as be a hero and he’s damaged when left in jail for the period. It’s a stunning flip for Coogan just because he performs a overwhelmed cur in addition to he performs a boorish snob.
Michael J. Fox
Larry goes again to New York Metropolis in Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Season 8, which yields nice cameos from the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Ana Gasteyer and Ricky Gervais. However probably the most hanging cameo of the season is Michael J. Fox, taking part in himself, as a neighbor who lives above Larry’s rented NYC pad.
Fox dropped at Curb that aspect of shock that makes for the most effective cameos: we don’t essentially anticipate him on an improvised comedy present in any respect, not to mention making mild of his Parkinson’s illness. Within the present, Fox repeatedly claims that his situation is in charge for slights to Larry: a soda shaken up an excessive amount of, a behavior of treading closely on his ground/Larry’s ceiling. However Fox’s supply is so strong, it made us hungry for extra pure comedic roles from the longtime star.
When Carrie Brownstein makes her look in the beginning of Season 9, it’s solely pure to marvel what took the present so lengthy to solid her. In her cameo, she performs an incompetent assistant to Larry, riddled with self-diagnosed issues and but inconceivable to fireside. Larry says her character was “foisted” (which can be the title of the episode) on him by a glowing suggestion from Jimmy Kimmel. In flip, Larry spends a lot of the episode attempting to foist Brownstein’s character onto another person.
Brownstein, finest generally known as a founding father of the rock band Sleater-Kinney and for co-starring in eight seasons of the sketch present Portlandia, is a pure match for a job on Curb. Portlandia was reportedly mostly improvised, and in her temporary time on display screen in Curb, she brings an immense consolation with each the unscripted language and the awkward humor the present had developed over 17 years. Although Brownstein largely has to cope with the topic of constipation in her episode, she will get all the pieces she will be able to presumably squeeze out of the subject. And when Larry does certainly foist her off onto Susie (which is precisely what occurs with Cheri Oteri’s nanny), it laborious to not want Brownstein had gotten much more time on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Curb Season 9 aired in 2017, a full six years after the earlier season. And, as if to show the present by no means misplaced its agency grasp on popular culture, it solid one of the vital ascendant stars on the earth to play himself for the ultimate two episodes.
In step with many on this record, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s cameo performs the star in opposition to kind, with the usually-charming Miranda taking part in himself as a petty micromanager who calls for to get his means. His portrayal reveals off extraordinarily good comedic timing in his volley with Larry, and the setup is inherently hilarious: as Miranda assists within the manufacturing of Larry’s musical Fatwa!, it’s a pleasure to see him countering Larry’s inventive management whereas poking enjoyable at himself. His cameo is an ideal encapsulation of the masterful means during which Curb makes use of sudden casting to its benefit. Right here’s hoping for extra of the identical in Season 10.