A 1999 mockumentary titled Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm led to comedic gold when it premiered on TV almost 20 years ago. This hilarious and groundbreaking program on HBO called “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” debuted on October 15, 2000, but still holds value in 2021 as one of the best things to watch if you want to laugh out loud. The Emmy-winning show centers on Larry David, playing a somewhat fictionalized version of himself, and the often neurotic interactions he has with those that are closest to him – if it sounds exactly like Seinfeld, well it does but actually it doesn’t. Here we have a wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines), his manager/best friend Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin), and Jeff’s wife, Susie Greene (Susie Essman), who is always at least irritated with whatever Larry is up to. So it’s tough to pick the best of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes but there are a few standout moments that will give even the harshest critics a little giggle – and maybe even something to think about. Some of the top episodes in our gallery include, “The Survivor,” “Palestinian Chicken,” “Fatwa” and “The Doll.”
20 Best Curb Your Enthusiasm Episodes
1. “Shaq” (Season 2, Episode 8)
When Larry accidentally trips Shaquille O’Neal at a Lakers game, he initially finds himself becoming a social pariah, but eventually welcomes the status as his friends retract requests for favors. Now Shaq is known to be one of the funniest, goofiest individuals off the court and so he features in many TV shows, movies and ads which leave people in stitches. Just the size of this commanding giant versus us mere mortals adds comedic tension to the beginning but what makes this one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes is Shaq’s scenes with Larry in the hospital. #curbyourNBAaddiction
2. “The Ugly Section” (Season 10, Episode 7)
Larry starts to suspect that one of his favourite restaurants, has a section specifically for ugly people that’s out of view from the people passing it on the street. He also tries to capitalize on a friend’s sudden demise as well as offering a job to the son of his dermatologist. What makes this one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes is the fact that Larry for some reason gets seated in the section for attractive people. This makes you wonder: will people see him as they walk by and want to come in? #curbyournarcissism
3. “Palestinian Chicken” (Season 8, Episode 3)
In this episode, Larry finds himself playing the role of a “social assassin” in several situations.
Larry and Jeff also begin to frequent a Palestinian chicken restaurant that’s opened next door to a Jewish deli. Already reading this, the political comedy of this thought or of this sentence brings a smile to your face, seeing as these groups are enemies back home.
What can a man do if he’s hungry and wants some chicken? Not eat?
Well, what makes this one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes is when Marty says to Larry, “You know, I thought all last night, ‘If Rabin can break bread with Arafat, I can have chicken at this antisemitic shithole.’” #curbyourland
Fun Fact: this episode helped the show win the trophy for Comedy Single-Camera Picture Editing for Steve Rasch (“Palestinian Chicken”).
4. “Mister Softee” (Season 8, Episode 9)
Larry is forced to revisit a traumatic experience he went through when he was a teen. What was the trauma? It’s the music coming from a Mister Softee truck, so it’s something to do with him getting ice cream without giving too many spoilers.
Then in another scene, Leon is refused entry to the apartment building, Larry suggests he wear glasses to gain respect from White people (sounding like a funny skit we could have seen on Seinfield). The sixth season saw the addition of a new regular character in Leon Black (J.B. Smoove), the brother of a family matriarch that moves into Larry’s house after they were displaced by a hurricane. Even after the woman and her family move out of Larry’s house, Leon continues to live with Larry.
Larry also befriends infamous Boston Red Sox player, Bill Buckner which makes this one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes as the final scenes of this episode makes him a superhero! Buckner catches a baby from a burning building and it’s not something we saw coming seeing as how this episode starts with Larry’s insecurities. #curbyourheroism
5. “The Benadryl Brownie” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Due to a miscommunication on Larry’s part, Richard Lewis’s new girlfriend eats a brownie with peanuts in it, which she is super allergic to. She is also a Christian Scientist who won’t take her medication causing her to have a severe allergic reaction. The funniest part of this episode is when Larry and Richard come up with a way to get her to take medicine – joining the group. Larry being deeply uncomfortable in the prayer group as everyone tries to join hands with him makes this one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes. He even changes his hairstyle before joining the prayer group. #curbyourscience
6. “A Disturbance in the Kitchen” (Season 9, Episode 3)
Larry learns to navigate having a fatwa being declared against him from someone who talks to him about a similar predicament that happened to them. But this is another classic episode, infact it might be one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes of all time when you hear Salman Rushdie telling Larry that “Fatwa sex is the best sex there is.”
Larry also helps Susie search for her missing “little sister,” so long as he’s able to use Ted Danson’s Tesla – oh the joy’s of helping others with no strings attached! (Kind of makes you think about charities right now and the rich folks funding it). #curbyourfatwa
7. “Fatwa!” (Season 9, Episode 10)
“A Disturbance in the Kitchen” continues and “Fatwa!” is about to go into previews but Larry still finds himself at odds with Lin-Manuel Miranda as well as suspecting that F. Murray Abraham might be an outfit tracker.
Larry’s obsession with annoying Miranda causes him to miss the wedding of Jeff and Susie’s daughter, Sammi, but the laughs keep coming in the duel scene between Larry and Lin-Manuel Miranda. #curbyourfatwa2
8. “Seinfeld” (Season 7, Episode 10)
The reunion episode of “Seinfeld” goes off without a hitch. However, Larry finds himself having to do a favor for a coffee delivery man after Larry doesn’t tip him. This causes Larry to miss out on a scheduled date with Cheryl, who he worries is falling for Jason Alexander who played George on Seinfeld. One of the best scenes in this episode is the origin of the feud between Larry David and Mocha Joe, drawing a parallel to Seinfeld and Newmans. #curbyourtips
9. “Trick or Treat” (Season 2, Episode 3)
When Larry refuses to give candy to a pair of uncostumed teenagers, he finds himself on the wrong end of a severe pranking.
Larry being Larry, also manages to offend a Jewish neighbor with his whistling of Wagner tunes.
If all of that doesn’t tickle your funny, wait till you watch the scene where Larry and Cliff get into an argument over whether Cliff’s grandfather invented the Cobb salad and chase Larry through his house in his wheelchair.
10. “The Special Section” (Season 3, Episode 6)
Larry is surprised to learn that, while he was in New York shooting a movie, his mother passed away and the funeral has already been held. Larry is also surprised to learn that his mother is buried in a special section of the cemetery due to a tattoo on her right buttock.
Larry also uses his mother’s death to go back to his previous obligations. One of the funniest things when Larry takes up meditation is his chanting of “jai-ya” in his head repeatedly until he starts saying the mantra to the tune of the dreidel song.
11. “The Table Read” (Season 7, Episode 9)
As the cast of “Seinfeld” has their first table read for the upcoming reunion, things get complicated when Larry has a risqué text message exchange with a nine-year-old fan of the show. When Michael Richards gets diagnosed with Groat’s disease, Larry gets Leon to pretend he has it to put Michael at ease.
If all of that doesn’t tickle your funny, wait till then Michael Richards realizes that Leon doesn’t actually have Groat’s disease and yells at him in a manner way too similar to his epic meltdown at the Laugh Factory in 2007. (This was a time when Richards was seriously pursuing stand up and someone aggressively heckled him which made him see red and a barrage of racial slurs ensued).
12. “Elizabeth, Margaret and Larry” (Season 10, Episode 8)
Larry inserts himself into Cheryl’s sister’s attempt to sell her house, helps Leon with a new business venture and causes a scene at a dinner party being thrown by Richard’s girlfriend.
All of this is made more surreal by the fact that Jon Hamm is shadowing Larry to prepare for a part. This right here is the scene that made it one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes because Jon Hamm slowly adopting Larry’s mannerisms and attitude – is pure comedy gold.
13. “The Car Pool Lane” (Season 4, Episode 6)
Classic curb your enthusiasm, Larry pretends to be racist! Why? To attend a Dodgers game and to avoid jury duty!
In his quest, he also picks up medical marijuana for his father and also picks up a hooker just so that he can get to the ball game on time by taking the carpool lane. What makes this one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes is the scenes with Nat getting stoned with the prostitute. Pure comedy. #curbyourrules
14. “The Grand Opening” (Season 3, Episode 10)
Two days before the restaurant opens, Larry fires the chef for pretending to be bald, leaving Bobo’s without a chef.
After an accident that injures a prominent food critic, Larry is put in touch with a New York chef with a slightly noticeable quirk – oh the things that Larry notices and sees!
If all of that doesn’t tickle your funny, wait till you see the cacophony of people yelling random curse words that closes the episode. #curbyoureyes
15. “The Ski Lift” (Season 5, Episode 8)
Larry happens to meet a person who leads the kidney consortium and becomes friends with him in the hopes of getting Richard Lewis’s name moved to the top.
Larry invites him and his very religious daughter on a ski weekend with Jeff and Susie and pretends that Susie is his wife because he lied and told him that he’s an Orthodox Jew.
You want to wait till you watch a scene when Larry meets up with Ben Heineman at Izzy’s Deli and he starts inserting random Yiddish, “ch,” sounds into everything – hilarious! #curbyouraccent
16. “The Doll” (Season 2, Episode 7)
Larry puts the fate of his new ABC show in the crosshairs after he cuts the hair off a doll belonging to the daughter of a network executive.
Larry and Jeff attempt to replace the doll head when they discover Sammy has the exact same doll in her collection.
If all of that doesn’t tickle your funny, wait till you hear Susie yelling at Larry and Jeff, “The kid is home, HYSTERICAL, because her doll, Judy, has been DECAPITATED, because you two sickos took the head—for God knows what reason—some photo s*** you’re doing!”
17. “Larry vs. Michael J. Fox” (Season 8, Episode 10)
Larry gets himself into trouble with his girlfriend after he gives her gay son an inappropriate birthday gift after the kid learns what a swastika is. He doesn’t know what it stands for, but he LOVES the print and design of the political symbol.
Meanwhile, Larry also finds himself in a feud with his upstairs neighbor, Michael J. Fox (who played Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy). One of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes of all times includes this skit with Larry flat out asking Michael J. Fox if his actions are a result of his Parkinson’s Disease or because he’s a jackass.
18. “The Survivor” (Season 4, Episode 9)
As Larry and Cheryl’s vow renewals approach, Larry looks to use his “free pass” with Anna, the Hasidic woman who runs the laundromat. The man needs to get this done before his vows come up. One of the things that trips viewers is the fact that Cheryl believes they’ll still be together in the afterlife. Even Larry was shocked at this!
Then there is the funny misunderstanding about what a survivor is, which leads to a rough dinner party and the funniest scene of all time was when Colby asks Solly if he’s ever watched “Survivor” and Solly replies, “Did you ever watch my show? It was called the Holocaust!” #curbyourafterlife
19. “Krazee Eyez Killa” (Season 3, Episode 8)
Larry puts Wanda’s upcoming marriage to the rapper, Krazee Eyez Killa, in jeopardy when he accidentally mentions his infidelity to Cheryl.
Even worse, it threatens Larry being able to borrow a jacket from Krazee Eyez that he needs for a movie shoot.
If all that doesn’t tickle you funny, wait till you see the scene where Larry says to Krazee Eyez, “Are you my Caucasian?” #curbyourjacket
Fun Fact: this episode helped the show win Best Comedy Directing in 2003.
20. “Opening Night” (Season 4, Episode 10)
Larry gets on a plane to New York to begin his stint in “The Producers” and is still looking to use his “free sex pass” that Cheryl gifted him for their tenth anniversary as they were renewing their vows.
During Larry’s first performance, he forgets his lines and threatens the future of the show’s Broadway run. But this is one of the best curb your enthusiasm episodes for taking the full circle concept and incorporating the plot from Mel Brooks’s 1968 comedic masterpiece.
Bringing things from an episode full circle, seeing Brooks and Anne Bancroft re-enacting the disappointed looks of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder was simply perfection.
FUN FACTS ABOUT CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM:
- The idea for the show was first conceived with David’s 1999 HBO special, “Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The special shows Larry returning to performing stand-up comedy for the first time since “Seinfeld” premiered, while interspersing scenes of Larry pitching HBO on having his own comedy special. One year after the special aired, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” premiered its first season on October 15, 2000.
- The trademark feature of the show was the fact that there was no formal script for the episodes. Rather, Larry would write a detailed outline for the actors indicating what had to be accomplished in a scene and the actual dialogue would be completely improvised by the actors.
- The reaction to the series from critics was near-universal acclaim. Allan Johnson of The Chicago Tribune said it was, “An insanely funny romp thanks to its unique storytelling technique and an inspired performance by the star.” Phil Gallo, writing for Variety, declared, “No one has created a funnier TV character this fall. It’s a show viewers will remember the following day and likely laugh at even harder than they did the first time.” The positive reactions have continued with the most recent season of “Curb” premiering earlier this year. Matthew Gilbert, of The Boston Globe, wrote that, “Even with the looseness of the scenes, David still knows how to guide the larger storylines to a climax – or, more often, a collision.”
- The love for the show has also been demonstrated with the accolades that the show has picked up over its 20 year run. So far, it has amassed 47 Emmy nominations including nine nominations for Best Comedy Series
- The show also picked up the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Series – Comedy in 2002. Upon receiving the trophy, David said, “This is a sad day for the Golden Globes. It is, however, quite a good day for Larry David. I suspect the wife will be a little forthcoming tonight. This is what I have to do for sex. I have to win an award. Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, for what I hope will be a memorable evening.”