Friday, August 19, 2011

LARRY DAVID

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."

"And...?"

"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.

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