As a former stand-up comedian himself, you’d figure HBO chairman Chris Albrecht would feel the pain of fellow comics who bombed their routines. Not so, says Larry David, who groused that Albrecht used to laugh hysterically when he flopped on the New York club circuit back in the day. “The man loves to see me in pain,” David said.
The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator was among the many funny folk who returned to stand-up in honor of Albrecht, who was being feted at the first annual Stand Up for Mentoring event for his involvement with the Los Angeles Mentoring Partnership and Work Site Mentoring programs. Jeff and Peggy Bewkes, Megan and Peter Chernin, and Haim and Cheryl Saban hosted a lavish pre-dinner, after which everyone piled into the Kodak Theater for a two-hour laffer. Others who polished their acts onstage included Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Maher, Robin Williams, Kevin James, Cedric the Entertainer, Lewis Black and Ray Romano.
“Chris just says, ‘Where are my fools? Amuse me, my fools,’ ” Maher said. “And we’re happy to do it because it’s HBO. Working for HBO, it’s not just about the money. It’s about the freedom of expression. Actually that’s just Hollywood bullshit, ‘Not about the money.’ Yeah, right.”
And Albrecht proved that he still has comedic chops, saying, upon receiving his award from David, “Larry and I have been friends for 30 years, and I can honestly tell you that success has not changed him one bit. Which, for those of us who know him, is really unfortunate.”