IF you’d asked me 10 years ago what my favourite comedy show was or which programme made me laugh out loud the most, the answer would have come back quick as a flash: Curb Your Enthusiasm.
It’s been six long years since US comedy writer and actor Larry David last graced our screens playing the curmudgeonly version of himself and the intervening years it was felt the chances of a ninth series of Curb Your Enthusiasm were pretty slim, following the disappointment of the eighth season, which left many feeling the show had reached its natural conclusion.
For the uninitiated, Curb (as it’s known to fans) follows David in his life as a semi-retired television writer (he co-created Seinfeld in real life) and producer in Los Angeles and later New York City.
Also starring are Cheryl Hines as his wife/ex-wife, Cheryl; Jeff Garlin as his manager, Jeff; and Susie Essman as Jeff’s wife, Susie, with the show also featuring a multitude of guest stars playing versions of themselves.
The subject matter usually involves the minutiae of daily social life, and plots often revolve around David’s many faux pas and his problems with certain social conventions and expectations, as well as his annoyance with other people’s behaviour.
He is also routinely the victim of elaborate misunderstandings wherein other characters believe he has done something morally terrible, leading to anyone who gets themselves in similar situations describing their plight as being ‘a bit Curb’.
This opening episode felt like a greatest hits package with a parade of misfortunes befalling our hero involving run-ins with a lesbian barber and a lazy personal assistant with bowel issues.
The majority of the dialogue is improvised on the spot and seeing David riffing lines with Garlin and his ex wife Hines was a particular treat for those of us starved of his way with words (most of which are too rude to print here).
By the end of a hilarious 45 minutes, David is crawling out of a restaurant wearing a wig after being issued with a Fatwa for writing a musical based on the life of Salman Rushdie. Quite how we got to that point is anyone’s guess but Curb Your Enthusiasm ensures it’s a wild ride.