Susie Essman made a name for herself cursing out Larry David as her alter-ego Susie Greene on Curb Your Enthusiasm. But as she reveals in this week’s episode of The Last Laugh podcast, in the 21 years since the show premiered—and the 35 years since she met David in the New York comedy clubs—they have never once gotten into an actual fight.
Essman opens up about David’s unique “genius” as a comedian, how Curb gets away with being so politically incorrect, the unconscious inspiration for her character, and the bizarro world in which she could have played Elaine on Seinfeld.
We are talking the morning after the episode aired in which Susie gets roped into embroidering a KKK robe for Larry—with a special surprise for the Klansman in question on the back. “That was a great episode,” she says. “That, to me, was a classic Curb.”
“And by the way, how great last night’s episode was, they’re just getting better and better,” Essman adds. “Episodes seven, eight, nine and 10 are off the charts.”
She chalks it all up to the “genius” of Larry David and showrunner Jeff Schaffer. “I mean the way these two figure out the plot outlines and weave everything together—and they’ve done it with the whole season,” Essman says. “You’ll see, every storyline comes together in episode 10. So they do it within an episode and then within the arc of a season, it’s incredible. I don’t even know how they get there. It’s transcendent to me.”
Over the course of 21 years and 11 seasons, Susie Greene has called the fictional Larry David a “four-eyed fuck” and worse more times than she can remember. But in real life, she tells me, “I don’t think we’ve ever had a fight, ever.”
“We have a really close relationship,” she says. “We are very close friends and get along really well and understand each other really well. The key to getting along well with Larry is to have really good boundaries. I understand Larry and Larry understands me. One of the reasons we can speak to each other in that despicable way is because we know we’re just playing. There’s nothing real about it at all.”
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