Larry David is a comedian, writer, actor and producer. He is probably most famous for co-creating the sitcom Seinfeld. Despite this, Larry David himself didn’t become a huge star until much later.
David was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. He went to University of Maryland, College Park and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history (Seinfeld had always made obscure historical references).
He was a stand-up comedian while living in Manhattan, and he was famous for being the comedian that other comedians loved to watch because he was known to get into arguments with audiences. Most noteworthy of all was the time he walked off stage without telling a single joke just after looking at a crowd.
He was hired as a writer and a cast member on ABC’s weekly late-night live comedy show Fridays from 1980 to 1982, and it was there that he first met Michael Richards, who would go on to play Kramer in Seinfeld.
He was later hired as a writer on Saturday Night Live from 1984 to 1985, and it was there that he first met Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who would go on to play Elaine in Seinfeld.
David quit SNL after only getting one sketch on the show in the entire season. A sketch which aired at 12:50am on the last slot.
In 1989, David teamed up with fellow stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld to create a pilot for NBC called The Seinfeld Chronicles, which aired in 1989 and combined a sitcom with scenes from Seinfeld’s stand-up comedy. The show later went to full series in 1990 and became one of the most successful TV shows in history.
The character of George Costanza played by Jason Alexander is largely based on David, and many stories from David’s life became episodes of the show.
The show was nominated for a total of 19 Emmys, and won twice for Best Comedy and Best Writing for the episode “The Contest,” which TV Guide called the best television episode of all time.
In 1999, HBO aired a one-hour special called Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, which led to a series in 2000 called Curb Your Enthusiasm, which featured a fictionalized version of Larry David if he, as David put it, “lacked social awareness and sensitivity.”
The show was largely improvised off a simple story outline and won over critics with its hilariously awkward moments. The show has been cancelled and revived twice as it grows in popularity. “Larry David moment” has even entered the pop culture lexicon as a way to describe an inadvertently awkward encounter like the ones often seen in the show.
The show shares obvious DNA with Seinfeld. Both are structured similarly, and both feature traditionally unlikable lead characters behaving poorly in social situations.
David has most recently made a return to SNL where he played 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, which was so popular that it led to him hosting an episode where he got to act with the real Bernie Sanders.
David has also made history in the theater. A play he wrote called Fish in the Dark, which centers on the death of a family patriarch, broke records for advanced ticket sales for a Broadway show.
Despite the fact that David co-created one of my favorite sitcoms, Seinfeld, his curmudgeonly alter-ego on Curb remains my personal favorite work of his. We all know how we are supposed to behave in society, but seeing someone who says what we all are thinking? That’s what makes David one of my favorite people. The fictional version AND the real version.