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Larry David Reveals How Lorne Michaels and Ari Emanuel Recruited Him to Play Bernie Sanders on ‘SNL’

Larry David’s stint playing Sen. Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live” began the night of the first Democratic primary debate in 2015.

The comedian and “Seinfeld” creator  spoke about his “SNL” run Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour, where he appeared to promote the upcoming ninth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

“This Bernie Sanders thing,” David said. “During the first debate between Bernie and Hillary, [‘SNL’ creator] Lorne Michaels got emails and calls during the debate, saying that I should be doing Bernie Sanders.”

After the debate, “[WME-IMG co-CEO] Ari Emanuel called me up and said, ‘What did you think?’ And every time I watched Bernie Sanders, I would repeat everything that he said, because I know that I can talk like that. So I started talking to Ari, the agent, I started talking to him like Bernie.” Emanuel then told Sanders to post video of himself doing the impression on the internet. “I said, ‘No, I’m not going to do that. That’s not me. I don’t care.’ Then I said, ‘You know, it would be a good thing for “Saturday Night Live”,’ not thinking in a million years.”

Emanuel, David said, “hung up immediately and called Lorne Michaels, then they were both on the phone 10 minutes later.”

David ended up playing Sanders throughout the 2015-16 election cycle.

It was also revealed during the panel that David and Sanders are related. Sanders learned of the connection when filming an upcoming episode of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots,” in which celebrities learn about the unknown branches of their family trees.

“I was very happy about that,” David said. “I thought there must have been some connection.”

David did not say exactly how the two are related, specifying only that Sanders is “a third cousin or something.”

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