HOLLYWOOD — For Larry David, the gangly, curmudgeonly, walrus-voiced creator and star of HBO’s hit series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the Los Angeles portrayed in his comedy is more than just a showbiz backdrop.
The 54-year-old former standup and “Seinfeld” co-creator depicts his grouchy millionaire’s life as a sun-kissed vortex where hillside estates, trendy boutiques, restaurants and laid-back parties mask all manner of petty slights, etiquette breaches and Rube Goldberg-style personal disasters.
After three seasons of consistently upward-turning ratings and two Emmy nominations this year, “Curb” has become an industry favorite. Co-executive producer Robert Weide says that the show is especially big with other sitcoms’ staff writers.
“I hear that on Monday morning, the first thing everyone does is dissect the previous night’s episode, in a nice way,” he says. “TV has become so derivative, so to have something that does not look or feel like anything else is interesting.”
For Angelenos, it’s highly watched not least for the squirming hilarity of David’s on-tube behavior but for its documentary-style use of the city. Weide, a friend of the comedian’s for 20 years, says David didn’t want “Curb” to be a soundstage type of comedy.
“He wanted the fly-on-the-wall perspective of just watching this guy’s life as it happens,” says Weide, who directs most of the episodes. “He really wanted the verisimilitude of being in actual locations.” Weide laughs. “I doubt if Larry even knows that word.”
This past season saw David investing in a restaurant, which prompted one eagle-eyed L.A. viewer to write to the show’s producers: “Larry’s restaurant is destined to failure because they haven’t been able to keep a restaurant open in that location for the past year.”
When clothing store Caruso’s was spotlighted in another episode involving a coveted shirt, the owner — suddenly deluged with calls about the shirt — requested a return visit. Recalls Weide: “He said, ‘Next time you guys do a story about our place, could Larry buy a suit?’ He could be selling more expensive items.”