11 Surprising Facts About Larry David

Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"
Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" / Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David’s knack for creating drama out of the smallest things—and infuriating everyone around him in the process—has made him one of the most endearing voices in American comedy. Here are 11 things you might not know about the television icon.

1. Larry David and Richard Lewis met when they were kids, and hated each other.

Richard Lewis, Larry David, and Jeff Garlin in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Richard Lewis, Larry David, and Jeff Garlin in Curb Your Enthusiasm. / John P. Johnson/Courtesy of HBO

Larry David and Richard Lewis aren’t just close friends on Curb Your Enthusiasm; the two met as 12-year-olds at summer camp. Just like in their fictional relationship, they didn’t always get along. "I hated his guts,” Lewis said—so much so that the two used to get into fistfights.

More than a decade later, the two met again at the bar of New York City's famed Improv comedy club, and developed a close friendship. "Talk about walking to the beat of your own drum," Lewis told The New Yorker of David. "I mean, this guy was born in a snare drum."

2. Larry David worked as a limousine driver, and for a bra wholesaler.

Before he turned to comedy, David worked a number of odd jobs to keep afloat. In addition to working as a paralegal and driving a cab, David worked at a bra wholesaler in New York. "The bras were seconds, actually," David told The New Yorker. "They were defective bras."

While David's mother pushed him to become a mailman, David ended up "driving a limo for an old lady who was half blind and had no idea that I wasn't wearing the uniform and that the car was filthy," he said at the 2011 WGA Awards. "I did that for a year, and then one night I went to the Improv, saw a bunch of comedians, and I thought, 'These people seem just like me. They're complete losers who do nothing and get up and talk about how miserable they are. Are you kidding? I can do that.'"

3. Larry David once used a coupon to pay for dinner on a date—and got caught.

One time, while on a date, David attempted to pay for dinner with a coupon while his companion was in the restroom. When his date returned to the table, the waiter was telling David that the coupon was no good, which angered the date—which, in turn, angered David. "What do you care!?" he asked. "I’m still paying for it! And now I’m paying full price!"

4. Larry David and Bernie Sanders are related.

Larry David stars in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Larry David stars in Curb Your Enthusiasm. / John P. Johnson/Courtesy of HBO

David is well-known for his spot-on impression of Bernie Sanders, and it might come more naturally to him than anybody thought. While on the PBS show Finding Your Roots, both men took a DNA test. While David had hoped to find out he was related to “a great athlete,” it turns out he and Sanders are actually distant cousins.

5. As a stand-up, Larry David would walk offstage if he didn’t like the crowd.

David, who is notoriously sensitive to social situations, was known to have a cantankerous relationship with his stand-up audiences even in the earliest days of his career. One time, after walking onstage and determining he didn't like the look of the audience, he just said, “Nope”—and walked off.

6. Larry David quit Saturday Night Live—then pretended he didn't.

In 1984, David was hired as a writer on Saturday Night Live, but had trouble getting any of his ideas on the air. In a moment of frustration with producer Dick Ebersol, who kept cutting all of his sketches, David blew up and quit—only to realize what a grave mistake he had made. In an effort to keep his job, David returned to work on Monday and played his whole outburst off as if it had been a joke. Not only did it work, it also became the inspiration for a classic Seinfeld episode. Maybe living well is the best revenge.

7. Larry David was prepared to walk away from Seinfeld if they didn't let him make "The Contest."

Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld at an New York City screening of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2009.
Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld at an New York City screening of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2009. / Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

David and longtime friend Jerry Seinfeld co-created one of the most influential sitcoms of all time with Seinfeld. The series was ahead of its time with its comedy, which could sometimes lead to disagreements with the network. So when it came time to make "The Contest," the famous episode where the gang sees who can go the longest without self-gratification, David was prepared for the network to fight it.

"I remember being nervous because the NBC executives were there," David told Vulture of the first table read. "I really had this thing going on in my head where, 'Well, if they don’t like it, I’m just going to quit the show.' I really had this built up in my head where, there’s no way they’re going to do it and I’m just going to quit if they don’t do it." Clearly, he had nothing to worry about.

8. Larry David had to tell George Steinbrenner he was being cut from Seinfeld.

For years, David did the voice of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld. But when the actual Steinbrenner was invited to guest star on the show, he was apparently so bad that his scenes had to be cut. And it was left up to David, a lifelong Yankees fan, to tell him. “He said, ‘I’m a big boy, I can take it,'" David said. “And he was a big boy. He took it well.”

9. Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David is an idealized version of the real Larry David.

While there are clearly many similarities between Curb Your Enthusiasm's version of Larry David and the real-life version of the comedian, David is quick to clarify that what you see on television is an idealized version of who he is in real life.

"The character really is me, but I just couldn't possibly behave like that,” David told Rolling Stone. “If I had my druthers, that would be me all the time, but you can’t do that. We’re always doing things we don’t want to do, we never say what we really feel, and so this is an idealized version of how I want to be.”

10. Larry David really, really hates the outdoors.

David and the outdoors are not on good terms. In an interview with GQ, he admitted that he hates the water, bike riding, hiking, and the beach. His only exception to the outdoor rule? Golf. “This is really the only thing I like to do outside,” he said.

11. Larry David helped clear a man who was wrongfully accused of murder.

In 2003, 24-year-old Juan Catalan was facing the death penalty for allegedly shooting a key witness in a murder case. Catalan told investigators that there was no way he could have committed the crime, as he had been at a Los Angeles Dodgers game. Ultimately, police were able to confirm his alibi because of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which was filming an episode at that very same game. It took Catalan's attorney just 20 minutes to find footage of Catalan and his daughter at the game. Five months after he was imprisoned for the crime, Catalan was cleared of any wrongdoing and released. (Long Shot, a short documentary about the case, is streaming on Netflix.)