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In his final public appearance before the series finale of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David joined MSNBC’s Ari Melber Friday night for a special discussion in Manhattan hosted by Tribeca Festival.

David, a Brooklyn native whose distinctly New York Jewish comedy migrated to the golf courses of West Los Angeles, was warmly welcomed by an audience of a few hundred. He waved off a standing ovation before taking a seat.

When asked if he feels more Jewish when returning to New York, David scoffed: “Can I feel more Jewish? … That’s maxed out. But I do feel comfortable here.”

After a highlight reel of “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” funniest moments, Melber began the night by asking David to weigh in on issues of social etiquette — “Curb”-ian conundrums such as when it’s appropriate to leave a dinner party (“10 minutes after dessert”) and how long it should take to say goodbye to the host (“12 to 15 seconds”).

David discussed buffet lines and the absurdity of the “next-day thank you text” with joy, but he hilariously dodged questions that required deeper reflection on his artistic process or body of work — a half-century’s worth of shaping American comedy with “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” among other things.

When asked why “Curb” has endured for 24 years, David had a simple answer: “It’s funny.”

When Melber read an AI bot’s analysis of “Curb” (it read, in part: “Psychologically, David’s comedy resonates because it taps into a fear of social ostracization”), David said, “I don’t put any thought into that whatsoever. Zero. I just try to write funny shows. That’s all it is. I’ve never analyzed it.”

And when Melber provided a lengthy theory about thematic parallels between David’s character in Woody Allen’s “Whatever Works” and his self-fictionalization in “Curb,” David said: “I didn’t understand any of that.”

“I’m not an intellectual,” David insisted. “I’m just an idiot from Brooklyn.”

A few times throughout the evening, David was asked to watch scenes from “Curb” and explain how the unscripted nature of the show leads to comedic discoveries. Before showing a scene from the Season 3 episode “The Terrorist Attack,” Melber displayed the official outline — a paragraph without dialogue that lays out the story beats. The actors are famously given the freedom to find their own routes from point A to point B. David also looked back on “Krazee-Eyez Killa,” in which Larry gives lyrical advice to Wanda Sykes’ rapper boyfriend, played by Chris Williams. David said that the first time he ever heard the rap verse was during the take, and his suggestion that Krazee-Eyez replace “motherfucker” with “bitch” was fully improvised. (Later in the night, David confirmed that Shara’s “I’m going to fuck the Jew out of you,” from the Season 8 favorite “Palestinian Chicken,” was indeed unscripted.)

On the topic of hip-hop, Melber presented David with three examples of rap lyrics that name-drop him, including from Drake, Lil Dicky and Brockhampton, who, in “I.F.L.,” sing, “If I ever die young / Have Larry David do the eulogy.”

“Would you consider doing Brockhampton’s eulogy if it came to that?” Melber asked.

“Yeah!” David laughed. “I’ll get up and I’ll go, ‘Who’s Brockhampton?’”

David wasn’t all coy, offering some insights into his process and why he finds certain things funny. Talking about a Season 12 episode in which Larry brushes off the death of his neighbor’s father-in-law because at least his father didn’t die, David quipped: “I love death.”

“One of the things I like to do is make the big things small and the small things big,” David added. “Death is a big thing. When you make it small, there’s something funny about it. … It’s so serious that when you trivialize it, it becomes funny for some reason.”

David also spoke about the strategic use of the Italian circus music that’s peppered across “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The iconic “Frolic” theme, plus a bevy of other motifs, are employed to give certain scenes a boost or lighten the tone.

In perhaps the clearest summation of his philosophy of comedy, David said, “The last thing you ever want is for anyone to ever feel sorry for a character. You don’t want anyone crying. Sometimes in the auditions, someone will come in and cry, and I’m like, ‘Wait a second. Wait a second. This is not the show. We don’t do that.’”

He continued, “You never want anyone to feel sorry for anyone. That stuff is the enemy of comedy. It’s not the show. You can’t feel sorry for anyone. Ever. Nothing will ever play.”

David also reflected on his years attempting stand-up comedy before “Curb,” when he was embraced by fellow comics but not so much by audiences. He said he refused to warm up to crowds or change his act in order to succeed. His similar attitude toward NBC executives as head writer of “Seinfeld” ultimately led to the show’s massive success.

“It wasn’t heroic,” David said of rejecting the network’s notes on the sitcom. “I just didn’t care.”

Toward the end of the night, David was joined by his “Curb” co-stars Susie Essman and Tracey Ullman, and the three of them took audience questions that ranged from boring to obnoxious.

David responded “no” without elaboration to about half of the questions, and when a young woman jokingly asked him what his pronouns are, David sat in a disappointed silence. When one guy asked about his favorite restaurant in New York, David was mystified: “What? Would you go there?” And when another guy asked about plot details for Sunday’s hotly anticipated episode, David rolled his eyes: “Do you really think I’m going to talk about the ‘Curb’ finale?”

One audience member asked David, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, about a Forbes report that revealed Steve Bannon profits from “Seinfeld” re-runs. (The former White House strategist negotiated a syndication deal during his years in Hollywood that has earned him a reported $32 million since 1998.)

“How do you feel about perhaps having inadvertently played a part in the rise of Trump and MAGA?” the audience member asked, to which David joked, “Can somebody remove him?”

David continued, “I didn’t become aware that Bannon had some kind of profit participation in the show … until a couple of years ago, actually. But, yeah, it’s sickening.”

At one point in the evening, Melber, acknowledging David’s resistance to the questions, said, “You’d rather be in the work rather than talking about it, which does make it a little harder to interview you, you have to admit.”

Slouching in his chair, in the most Larry David way possible, he replied, “I didn’t beg you to do this.”



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