Friday, August 19, 2011


Larry David is an actor, writer, comic, who's created and playing the lead in a television sitcom, "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The show started on HBO. It's in is its eighth season, and can be seen nightly locally in re-runs.

My husband, John Cullum, auditioned for Larry David recently. JC has very specific ideas, and prepares for auditions carefully. He doesn't like to improvise, though he'll improvise for me -- do a jig, play Hamlet ala Richard Burton; he loves to imitate me at my barre, or pretend to be Agnes the Maid when he's cooking us supper.

Anyhow, JC reads scripts carefully, and asks to see the entire script if it's a play, or a TV series. He has to know what the concept is. (He won't play a part that's offensive or gratuitously "dirty." He doesn't like to play villains, so if you want him for a bad guy's role, he'll look for what's sympathetic about the character, and try to find an aspect of the bad guy that's good.)

A date and time was arranged for John to read for a role in an up-and-coming episode that Larry David had written. There were "sides" -- three one-line speeches. The scene wasn't described. There were no notes on who the character was.

We've watched "Curb Your Enthusiasm" -- not regularly. We don't watch any shows regularly but I'll tune in "Seinfeld" reruns, when we've got fifteen minutes or so to spare. We've certainly enjoyed some of the brilliantly amusing scenes Larry David wrote with Jerry for the "Seinfeld" series.

As an actor, I find Larry David interesting -- not handsome, sexy, or memorable. He plays the starring role in his series as an average, ordinary guy, reacting to ordinary hum-drum things. But his sudden bouts of jealousy, paranoia, prejudice, his sudden unwillingness to be categorized, insistence on doing everything his way -- it's very funny.

And my reactions, are John's reactions. We generally think alike about things like this. David's a talented actor who has slowly, gradually turned himself into a face, a style that you remember -- if I remember him, and John remembers him, I'll bet you will too.

(Hey, I know his name -- for anyone who's involved in the creative aspects of television to become a "name" that people remember, that's a big accomplishment.)

So when John Cullum auditioned for him -- well, it seemed like a good show, and a good possibility for JC.

The moment John got home, I asked "What happened?"

"It was a bomb," JC said. "I did the three lines with a stage manager."

"You didn't do the scene with David himself?"

"No. With a stage manager, who didn't know any more about the script than I did. When I was finished, Larry David asked me to try the first line again. I did."


"Larry David said. 'thanks,' and turned to his assistant for the next name on the list."

"That was it? You didn't chat. about Robin Williams? You didn't talk about the fun you've had working with Robin on his movie a few months ago?" (When actors get together, conversation about mutual pals quite often gets things going.)

"No, Em. I didn't."

"But... gee...there was no other conversation?"

"Honey, I bombed," JC said.

"You didn't improvise?"

"I tried to, but there was nothing in the script. I bombed," John said, before he picked up the phone and gave his agent a report.

No doubt about it . John Cullum didn't get the job.

In case you haven't seen Larry David's show, here's an amusing somewhat risque episode that I'm glad John wasn't on.


Linda Phillips said...

WOW! I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY disappointed and angry! I am frankly more disappointed in Larry's total rudeness and lack of acknowledging a great acting legend, than I am in the fact that JC "bombed". JC is a great actor and I am not a bit worried about his ability to get work.

What I am truly disappointed at is Larry's shear arrogance and lack of professionalism. He is really a piece of work isn't he??????

I happen to love his show and do know that it is largely improvised and done on a shoe string of a budget. The people who do work with him apparently are people who really are improvisational actors...and many are highly comedic. JC is a true great actor,but apparently NOT Larry's type of actor,good bad or whatever that may be.

Clearly it was not a match made in heaven!!!!!!

Shame, shame, shame on Larry David for being a real prick...can I say prick on here? LOL Well I just did!

Larry plays a clueless, arrogant insulting character and clearly he is REALLY and TRULY playing himself!!!!!!

I will still watch the show, but it will always remain in my head while watching, that Larry David really and truly is a creepy, self absorbed bastard after all for the way he treated "OUR" John Cullum!!!!!!!!!

Carola said...

What a shame. It would have been great to see John on that show. Larry David's a weird guy.

Chip Deffaa said...

Thanks for posting this, Em. It is very well-written. And if they didn't hire John, that's their loss. I'm disappointed that they chose to audition someone of John's stature in such a demeaning fashion--just reading a few sides with a stage manager (without knowing the context). I like the show. I would have enjoyed seeing John on it. --Chip Deffaa

Larry Enright said...

Sorry it went so badly for John. Not knowing what someone wants, having to take a guess at it, and then guessing wrong isn't exactly fair or nice. I know it's not what John wants to hear, but he's better off without Larry David.

Anonymous said...

Em-I watched the video and didn't think it was that fuuny. It lacked balance and chemistry between Larry David and the other characters. I think they should call John back and do a live cut of Larry and John to see what chemistry and magic occur...everyone might be surprised and pleased. Like Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were funny and made a balanced great team! The show is certainly not as funny as Seinfield! kam

Heather Mash said...

If J.C. doesn't like improvisation I image he was glad he didn't get the part, isn't all the work on that show kind a 'theatre sports' improv exercise? Larry D.'s realization of his art doesn't have to please everyone, and J.C's realization of his art. doesn't either. Both artists have proven themselves to be 'top of the class' PhD. talents in what they do artistically. But it's fun to challenge yourself or try something different, TV series all have a formula if it works they repeat it over and over again because it sells and my guess is that within that 'formula' that's used to filter and select they're looking for specific characteristics in any good actor that will work with the ensemble of actors on this show. Just a guess, I don't know but I would be interested in your and JC's view on this aspect of any audition , a role. Love and hugs, H.