After 11 seasons and more than two decades on HBO, Emmy voters are still finding “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to be, in Larry David parlance, “pretty … pretty … pretty good.” Since the comedy series’ debut in 2000, “Curb” has amassed a staggering 51 nominations — including two wins — with the most recent season adding four noms to its total. After 110 episodes, “Curb’s” tightly plotted yet semi-improvised approach remains fresh and admired enough to continue its enviable showing at the Emmys, not to mention a point of pride to executive producer and showrunner Jeff Schaffer.
“Look, I know we’re not like a new sparkly, trendy choice and we’ve been around since the year 2000,” Schaffer says. “But I’m really proud that we’re still doing shows that are super funny and that we’re still doing things that people are talking about and are shocked that we’re doing, whether it’s Larry enlisting a Klansman to show Woody Harrelson a cow or using Alexander Vindman in ‘a perfect call.’” Schaffer says Season 11 required an extra degree of commitment and ingenuity due to pre-vaccine pandemic protocols. “Larry David is a germophobe and doesn’t want to get it for sure,” but the team forged ahead largely because all the episodes were already written.
“We wouldn’t have shot in COVID,” he says. “But once we wrote them, it’s like, ‘Well, we have to do it. We already did the hard part. Let’s do the fun part.’” Given the already people-averse nature of David’s TV persona, the show’s writers also made the unexpected but ultimately shrewd choice not to deal with the pandemic head-on. “We decided to live in a world where COVID had happened, but people weren’t worrying about it anymore — basically like Florida,” Schaffer quips. “We didn’t want to be doing jokes that someone else had already done.” The show is frequently at its best when delivering choice antagonists for David to tangle with, and its Emmy-nominated casting team of Allison Jones and Ben Harris offered a banquet of fresh adversaries, from comedy stars including Bill Hader, who earned a nomination for guest actor, to Tracey Ullman, Seth Rogen, Harrelson, Albert Brooks, Josh Gad and Vince Vaughn.