As I said on social media and to any of my friends who also worship Larry David and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” I had very low expectations when I heard a new season of the HBO sitcom was coming back for Season 10.
After eight mostly amazing seasons it looked like the show had gone off the air for good in 2011, and I was fine with that. The mostly-improvised, brilliantly acted and directed show had so many classic episodes, and if David said he was finished with it, then fine, and thanks for so many great memories.
But five years went by and “Curb” came back, and it was like watching (cliche alert) Muhammad Ali stumble around the ring against Trevor Berbick, or Willie Mays falling down in the outfield when he played for the Mets at the end of his career.
The season was a mess; not funny, not interesting, and I watched the last few episodes out of obligation, out of loyalty, not because I was expecting them to be good.
So when I heard LD had gotten the gang back together for another season this winter, I feared the worst. People just run out of funny ideas, at some point, and clearly David had.
Happily, I was completely wrong. “Curb” has aired five episodes this season and they have all been phenomenal. Just phenomenal. Completely ridiculous premises have still managed to be hilarious.
From the season-opener, with everyone thinking Larry’s manager looks like Harvey Weinstein and cursing him out, and Larry putting on a MAGA hat to repel people he doesn’t want to deal with, the show has been on fire this year.
Between Larry and ex-wife Cheryl’s mini-reunion, between Larry trying to brilliantly manage dating in L.A. during the #MeToo era by asking a first date before he does anything physical, and getting her permission, to last week’s brilliant destination wedding episode in Mexico, the whole season has just been perfect.
Besides the always-reliable Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin and Richard Lewis, the guest-stars this season have been fabulous, from Teri Polo, to Clive Owen, to even Christine Lahti.
The absurdity of a human being going through life acting like Larry David on this show has always been funny. But the storylines and execution this year have been incredible. This season is on a par with the first few seasons, for pure comedy and brilliance.
If you used to watch “Curb” and gave up on it, I’m telling you, it’s time to come back. It’s brilliant again, and I’ve never been so thrilled to have been wrong.
**Next up today, we have heard and seen for decades the awful scourge of racism in European soccer, from fans throwing bananas at African-American players, to much worse physical and verbal abuse.
So it was highly refreshing to come across this clip this week. At a recent home game in Germany for a club called Preußen Münster, a fan hurled racist slurs towards Leroy Kwadwo, a Ghanian football player who competes for German club Würzburger Kickers, who were playing Münster that day.
When other fans saw it, they alerted security, who escorted the man out.
Then, as opposing players came to hug Kwadwo, the entire stadium stood up and chanted “Nazis Out!”
Maybe it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but it’s great to see hatred and bigotry called out in real time, and dealt with immediately. Praise to the Munster fans, big-time.
**And finally today, a tribute to the amazing writer Roger Angell, who is now 99 and still going strong.
A writing hero of mine and of so many other people, Angell has been writing baseball, and other prose, at The New Yorker since God was a child. His beautiful writing and fantastic outlook on life have been an inspiration over the years.
Now a year shy of a century, Angell gave this interview to The New Yorker about his life and work, and it’s fabulous. Man, I hope I’m this sharp when I’m 99. Hell, I hope to SEE 99!