There is no denying that Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of the greatest comedy series to ever hit the airwaves, but you could say that about a lot of shows. Larry David won over audiences with his curmudgeonly charm and universal appeal.
The thing that makes Curb special is how ground-breaking it was. Suddenly a show came along that was meta and postmodern, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Some guy who co-created and wrote Seinfeld starring in his own show where he plays himself? And it’s not even scripted, it’s just actors making stuff up as they go along?
So, in anticipation of the long-awaited ninth season, due to finally air this October, here are the fifteen greatest Larry David quotes.
15. “When I’m in social situations, I always hold onto my glass.”
This is a very relatable quote to neurotic people. Larry is standing at a party, talking to somebody, clutching his glass, and he says, “When I’m in social situations, I always hold onto my glass.”
He also justifies it by saying that holding the glass in his hand gives him a sense of security, explaining, “It makes me comfortable and secure and I don’t have to shake hands.” The feeling of comfort and security under awkward or uncomfortable circumstances that comes from holding onto something is a strange but true observation.
It’s the way I feel about holding a microphone when I’m on stage doing standup comedy. But it doesn’t apply to any situation more than the party atmosphere, crowded by people who all want to talk to you.
14. “You know who wears sunglasses inside? Blind people and assholes.”
This is the joke that introduced the world to Larry David, the ultimate curmudgeon. It’s from the first ever episode of Curb, which wasn’t technically an episode at all. It was more of a TV movie, shot in a mockumentary style – no one making it had any idea it would turn out to be the pilot of a TV show.
It was still kinda technically the very first episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, though, and it was the very first big laugh that the show ever got. We saw a glimmer of the guy we’d be spending the next decade and a half with – someone who saw the world in a skewed way, looking only for the negatives and seeing something as simple as a person wearing sunglasses inside as something to get hot and bothered about.
13. “Do you respect wood?”
Larry has given us a lot of terms for things that we encounter all the time in everyday life that didn’t have names before.
He’s come up with the “chat and cut” to describe people who talk to someone in a line in order to slyly cut in with them; the “stop and chat” to describe when someone wants to stop you on the street midway through your daily errands in order to make small talk with you; and the “sample abuser” for people who abuse their sampling rights in an establishment such as an ice cream store.
One of the funniest terms of all of these is, “Do you respect wood?” It separates the people who use coasters to prevent ring stains on coffee tables and those who don’t.
12. “Let’s go upstairs and all get under the covers and sob!”
This is Larry’s sarcastic response when Richard Lewis gets annoyed at him. Larry has invited Richard and Jeff and Richard’s new girlfriend over to have dinner with himself and Cheryl, and after dinner, watch the new HBO special that Richard has made.
He wants feedback in case he needs to make any edits or anything before it goes on the air. But Larry can’t get the TV to work with all the remotes and the inputs and all that hoo-hah, so Larry gives up and decides that the Richard Lewis HBO special ship has sailed.
Richard is annoyed that Larry has given up so easily, and even more annoyed that he’s suggested Scrabble as an alternative activity, so Larry sarcastically suggests, “Let’s go upstairs and all get under the covers and sob!”
11. “Hey, mind your own business. How about that?”
One day, Larry David is out walking, looking miserable as usual. A bubbly, positive woman walks past him and eagerly encourages him to “Smile!” Perturbed and annoyed by this, Larry turns around and says to her, “Hey, mind your own business. How about that?”
It’s from the season 7 episode “The Hot Towel.” Season 7 saw the Seinfeld cast reunite for one more episode and we got a behind the scenes look at that show’s production process. And this episode had Christian Slater vs Larry David re: caviar. So, there was a lot going on.
But this quote, and by extension, the little moment in the show where it comes in, was a nice little nugget of comedy gold that they managed to get in there. It’s so funny and relatable.
10. “A date is an experience you have with another person that makes you appreciate being alone.”
This quote pretty much sums up the humdrum misery of single life. It comes in season 8 when we find a newly divorced Larry David feeling particularly chipper about the whole thing. We finally got to see what a single Larry David was like and how he handled the modern dating scene.
His friend’s wife asks him, “Are you dating?” He nonchalantly replies, in a very curmudgeonly Larry David way, “A date is an experience you have with another person that makes you appreciate being alone.” And she replies, “LOL,” which opens up a whole other can of worms. Larry calls this “verbal texting” and takes her to task for it.
This leads to the dissolution and breakup of a marriage. Classic Larry. All because of one comment.
9. “You’re allowed to be happy, but not in front of me.”
This quote is from the new trailer for season 9. Larry is sitting in his office, doing some work, and he’s distracted by a couple kissing in his window. So, he goes over to the window, pops it open, and tells them, “I can’t look at this.”
The boyfriend is quick to defend their actions, asking Larry, “Two people aren’t allowed to be happy?” to which Larry, quick as a whip, replies, “Well, you’re allowed to be happy, but not in front of me.” It’s try. This is what the title of the show actually refers to.
Larry is the voice in your head that hates to see two people kissing or expressing love or otherwise being happy, because unless it involves you directly, it’s sickening. Larry speaks up for us.
8. “Have you noticed if she has any proclivity for chop sticks?”
Trust Larry to make something as simple as a stop and chat with a newlywed couple and their new adopted Asian baby an awkward encounter. The baby’s name is Kelsey and Larry calls her Kelsey Grammer, which leads to calling her Frasier, which the girl’s parents beg him not to do.
And then he proceeds to make small talk about the process of white parents raising an Asian child, which quickly veers into very racist territory. He asks, “Have you noticed if she has any proclivity for chop sticks?” to which the girl’s parents obviously say, “Why?” in a very offended manner.
The dad begs the question, “Why would she have a proclivity for chop sticks, Larry?” and Larry, of course, replies, “Well, she’s Chinese.” The dad has the perfect comeback to point out Larry’s racist stereotyping: “Do you think she is also a kung fu master?”
This is one of the most uncomfortable and cringe-worthy scenes to watch in the history of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but it’s also pretty hilarious, so that’s fine.
7. “There’s a jet stream of bullshit coming out of your mouth!”
Everyone’s wanted to yell at the weatherman every now and again. He’s the guy you blame when his incorrect forecast ruins your plans. When Larry suspects his local weatherman of forecasting rain in order to clear the golf course for himself, he heads down to the country club where these suspicions are confirmed.
He heads out onto the putting green to yell at the weatherman for lying. The weatherman explains, “Larry, there’s a low pressure system sitting out over the coast, the jet stream brings that into this area, the jet stream is controlled by the rotation of the Earth – you know who controls that? God!”
And then Larry’s comeback is perfect: “You know what? There’s a jet stream of bullshit coming out of your mouth, my friend! You are busted, buddy!”
6. “That’s like if my last name was Jew, like Larry Jew.”
In the season 6 premiere “Meet the Blacks,” Larry David and his wife Cheryl allow a family whose home was destroyed in a hurricane to move into their house. It is a good thing to do, and Larry does it begrudgingly.
He makes the most Larry David-y first impression when he meets them at the airport (very, very late, of course). He finds out that this African-American family’s last name is Black, and of course, Larry has to make an inappropriate joke. He says, “That’s like if my last name was Jew, like Larry Jew.”
Fortunately, they don’t get it in the slightest, and they try to ignore it and move on, but Larry won’t let it go. He tries to explain it: “So, like, imagine if your last name was Gentile…”
5. “Eat lobster!”
This is Larry’s analogy for Christianity. See, he’s Jewish and he doesn’t understand why Christians are so eager to recruit more into their way of life. There’s preachers and door-to-door guys who try to tell you about the Bible and those people in prisons reforming criminals by force-feeding them religion.
Larry doesn’t get it. He says, “Why do Christians take everything so personally with Christ? You know? It’s like, not only do you have to worship Him, you want everybody to. It’s like, I eat lobster. Do I go around pushing lobster on people? Do I say, ‘You must like lobster! It’s good, it’s good.’ It’s not only where you live. You go to Africa. You travel all over the world. ‘Eat lobster! Have some more lobster! It’s good. We want you to have lobster!’”
4. “Some vanilla bullshit latte cappa thing.”
Larry David going to Starbucks is one of the greatest things that’s ever happened on television. For starters, he asked them about their complex products and sarcastically pointed out how simple they are for having such a fancy name.
“It’s a cafe latte? What is that? Milk?” he asks. The Starbucks employee tells him, “Milk, uh, and coffee.” Then Larry goes completely over the top with his sarcastic response: “Milk and coffee! Who would’ve thought? Milk and coffee! Oh my God. What a drink! It’s milk and coffee, mixed together! You’ve gotta go there, sit down, have a donut, have a bagel!”
And when he was making his order, he was even more mocking and obnoxious: “I’ll have a vanilla…one of those vanilla bullshit things. You know, whatever you want, some vanilla bullshit latte cappa thing. Whatever you got.”
3. “Fuck Hugh!”
In an early episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (well, season 3, but that’s relatively early when you consider it’s now on season 9), there’s an episode where Larry gets on the bad side of one of the other investors in the new restaurant that he’s unintentionally sabotaging.
See, the first nail in the coffin is Larry’s pronunciation of his name. His name is Hugh, but Larry pronounces it “you.” It bothers Hugh. Oh, and so does Larry complimenting the size of his infant son’s penis. And then the kid is in a screening with Larry and he’s making a racket, so Larry (as usual) intervenes. He gets into an argument with Hugh and, finally, Larry can pronounce his name right.
Unfortunately, he uses it to say this phrase to him: “Fuck Hugh! Fuck Hhhhhuuuggghhhh! Fuck Hhhhhhhhuugghhh!” Yeah, that ought to go down well.
2. “The customer is usually a moron and an asshole.”
Season 6’s “The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial” is one of Curb’s strongest episode. It’s also the one that shows Larry doing the most unabashedly horrible and depraved things. He steals flowers from a dead woman’s roadside memorial, for God’s sake!
But anyway, one of the highlights of the episode is Larry’s ire at the “sample abuser” at the ice cream store. No one agrees with him, as Cheryl and Loretta tell him that it’s the customer’s right to have as many samples as they want. But Larry informs them that they believe this because they’ve been told that the customer is always right.
He has his own little twist on that common phrase: “The customer is usually a moron and an asshole.”
1. “Prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay, pretty good.”
It’s the classic. It’s the Larry David catchphrase. The line derives from an old standup bit that Larry used to do when he used to perform comedy in New York.
The joke was originally about how difficult it is to make conversation with your parents when you’re an adult. They’ll ask you, “How are you doing?” and you’ll awkwardly reply, “Prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay, pretty good,” with nothing else to say. But it’s since become the fictionalized version of Larry David’s catchphrase and also a kind of mantra.
The truth is, Larry David is not a happy guy. The way he sees the world means that he’ll never be truly happy, and so he never feels pretty good. He feels prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay, pretty good. And isn’t that how we all feel?