Larry David

Larry David killed the black swan with a single mighty swing of his golf club. The bird was charging with rage in its eyes, and he reacted to the attack out of instinct. Problem is, that black swan was the beloved pet of course owner Mr. Takahashi. The black swan appears on Ocean View’s logo, a black-swanned shield, and on the napkins in the lavish dining house. The black swan roamed Ocean View with impunity, until Larry leveled the death blow.

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“The Black Swan” is my favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. It appeared like an interlude during the Seinfeld reunion season a few years ago. “Let me explain something to you, moron,” Larry says, over fruit. “Swan killers leave. People who aren’t swan killers stay. Have a little lunch. Enjoy themselves. Socialize. Get to know the members. There’s nothing wrong. Get it?” He grips a butter knife in his fist like a threat.

Earlier, on the course, Larry confronted another golfer whose slow play was ruining the game. That confrontation ended thusly:

“Where’s your wife?”

“Fuck you, Norm!”

Norm had a heart attack right after that and died.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart once suggested that Barack Obama spends some of his time as president “bucket listing.” Last week it was reported Obama went golfing with Larry David. I am going to guess Obama made reference to the black swan. POTUS probably kept doing some small, annoying thing to piss Larry off.

Larry David was also in the news for this reason: According to Wealth-X’s research, revenues from Curb Your Enthusiasm plus the bounty of a fifth Seinfeld syndication deal earlier this year have David sitting at $900 million in net worth. As such, he is the “wealthiest comedian” ahead of Seinfeld ($800 million), Letterman ($390M), Cosby ($360M) and Sandler ($290M).

Nine hundred million. Well done. A comedian writer does not make $900 million without being funny.

David co-created Seinfeld with Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld will be funny forever because it went for laughs nonstop and succeeded so much more often than it failed. If I ever own my own ski hill, all the runs will be named after Seinfeld jokes: Sponge-worthy, Festivus, Master of Your Domain, Death Blow, Assman, Serenity Now, The Moops, Soup Nazi, Big Salad, etc.

There’s a great new HBO movie called “Clear History.” Larry David is the star, playing a guy exactly like himself. He’s a marketing whiz who gets so upset about the name his corporation is giving its new car (Howard) that he quits in protest, costing himself a billion-dollar fortune. He changes his name, moves to Martha’s Vineyard, and makes a nice, quiet life for himself.

He is surrounded by hilarious characters, including my favorite actor from Curb Your Enthusiasm, JB Smoove. (“Step out that asshole, Larry. Don’t ever close that mother fucker.”)

“Clear History” feels like the biggest-ever episode of Curb. It has great performances—especially from Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, and Liev Schreiber—but the best thing about it is watching Larry David’s character interact with a huge group of unfamous friends. He’s got a pretty ex he gets along with, poker buddies who like him, a best friend with a boat. He’s at peace.

Then, of course, hijinks ensue. People get offended and there’s a big explosion inspired by “The Fountainhead.”

We never know if there’ll be another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David doesn’t commit. I wonder if “Clear History” is him saying goodbye to this characterization of himself he’s cultivated on HBO over all these post-Seinfeld years. No one would be surprised, I bet, if he stops making TV, because he’s had such an amazing and successful run.

No one has been funnier. Nine hundred million dollars proves it.

Larry David is the funniest man alive, I think, because he has understood since Seinfeld that feelings get in the way. Those characters were not good people, and they were a riot. The best Curb Your Enthusiasms typically see him doing something terrible and covering it up without a hint of remorse. They buried the black swan under a thin layer of dead leaves. Of course it was gonna be discovered.

“Clear History” might be the most likable Larry David we’ve met, and he’s still a jerk. If this is his send-off, it’s perfect.

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