The scene comes late in Curb Your Enthusiasm’s seventh season. Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld are getting the band back together for a Seinfeld reunion and on the day of their first big table read, Larry’s friend Marty Funkhouser shows up on set, an enormous plate of free food in one hand, and insists on telling Jerry a joke.
As played by comedian Bob Einstein, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 76, Funkhouser is an amateur comic with no sense of propriety. “He doesn’t want to hear a joke, we have a read-through,” a frustrated Larry tells him, trying to protect his longtime collaborator. But Funkhouser pays him no mind.
For the next 60 seconds, Einstein delivers a joke so dirty that we won’t bother transcribing it here—though you can watch it in its entirety below. When he finally gets to the punchline, Jerry laughs so hard he doubles over. “It surprised me,” he says after he recovers. “I had no idea it would be that revolting.” As Einstein walks away, Jerry adds, “I like that guy.”
Not exactly known for his acting chops, Seinfeld was genuinely “surprised” by the punchline of Einstein’s joke because, thanks to Curb’s unscripted format, he actually had no idea what was coming. According to legend, the script simply read, “Marty tells a joke.”
As Seinfeld explained during the first of two Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episodes he taped with Einstein, Larry David chose to use the first take that they shot so that his real laugh could be preserved.
During their lunch at Nate'n Al Delicatessen in Beverly Hills, Seinfeld told Einstein he had been a huge fan of his since his early days as a writer—and occasional performer as Officer Judy—on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. “I watched all the Super Daves,” he added, referring to Einstein’s accident-prone stuntman character, “and then, I never met you until we did the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
“How great was that,” a beaming Einstein replied in his signature rasp.
“And the day I meet you, the bit we’re doing is that you’re going to tell me a joke,” Seinfeld continued. “And the great thing was on the show…” Finishing Seinfeld’s sentence, Einstein said, “They left in your laugh.”
“They left in the real laugh from the first time I heard the joke,” Seinfeld added.
In response, Einstein just smiled and said, “That was the greatest.”
Just last year, Seinfeld invited Einstein back for a second episode, making him the first-ever repeat guest on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. This time, Einstein told him another joke about an Arab man crawling through the desert, desperate for water, who runs into a Jewish tie salesman.
The ultimate punchline left Seinfeld nearly in tears with a head on the table. When he finally composed himself, he told Einstein, “I’ve never heard that one.”