Curb Your Enthusiasm has been one of the funniest shows on the air for a long time, but due to the fact that its scenes are improvised from a short outline, it’s tough to quote it. Every line is uttered to motivate the scene as a character and it comes up in the moment.
The jokes aren’t labored over and crafted across a number of drafts like in other comedy series. Still, there are some gems that arise from the improvisation – mainly coming from the series’ lead, who also writes the outlines, Larry David. So, fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm, here are Larry’s 10 best quotes.
10 “Do you respect wood?”
This is the line that comes to mind when most people think of Larry David. He was blamed for a ring stain on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ coffee table that he didn’t leave there and he became determined to get to the bottom of it and solve the case. This led Jerry Seinfeld to term Larry a “wood detective.”
In every scene for the rest of the episode, he’s examining people’s coffee tables to see if they “respect wood.” If there are ring stains on their coffee table, then they don’t respect wood and they could be the culprit behind the ruining of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ coffee table.
9 “Milk and coffee! Who’d have thought?”
After tripping Shaquille O’Neal at a Lakers game in season 2’s “Shaq,” Larry realizes he’s truly become a social pariah and can now get away with doing and saying whatever he wants, with no boundaries, because no one could possibly hate him any more.
For him, that’s like a dream come true. He goes into a coffee shop and asks the barista to make him “some vanilla bulls*** thing.” When the barista suggests a latte and tells Larry it’s a mixture of milk and coffee, Larry enthusiastically cries out, “Milk and coffee! Who’d have thought? Oh my God, what a...what a drink!”
8 “Smile.” “Hey, mind your own business. How about that?”
There are a lot of curmudgeonly characters on television right now: Rick Sanchez, BoJack Horseman, Sheldon Cooper, Mr. Burns, Ron Swanson. But arguably, the grumpiest, saddest, most curmudgeonly character on TV airwaves is Larry David. A passing well-wisher simply tells him to “smile,” and with it, enjoy the wonders of the world and the thrill of being alive.
And Larry simply turns around and says to her, “Hey, mind your own business. How about that?” Nothing needed to be said. Even if he didn’t agree with her, he didn’t have to point it out to her and ruin her day, too. But he did, because that’s Larry.
7 “It was supposed to say ‘beloved aunt,’ not ‘beloved c***!’”
Most TV shows haven’t found their feet in the first season. It’s awkward to watch a first-season episode of The Office or Seinfeld or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, because the show hadn’t found its voice yet – the actors hadn’t figured out how to embody their characters, the writers didn’t know the specific type of humor that worked for the show etc.
But Larry David nailed Curb Your Enthusiasm right out of the gate. “Beloved Aunt” is a season 1 episode, but it’s so layered and classic and beloved that it could’ve come from any other season and not felt out of place.
6 “A date is an experience you have with another person that makes you appreciate being alone.”
Larry David had always said that if he wasn’t married in real life, then his TV alter ego wouldn’t stay married. If he got divorced, TV Larry got divorced. Well, between season 5 and season 6, real-life Larry did get a divorce from his wife, and so, midway through season 6, TV Larry broke up with Cheryl.
It was a shame, since the two always had such great chemistry, but it did open the show up to explore Larry David on the dating scene as a single man. One of his funniest single-guy lines is: “A date is an experience you have with another person that makes you appreciate being alone.”
5 “Don’t put that pie down! Do not put that pie down!”
This isn’t a great quote when it’s taken out of context, but in its context, it’s one of the funniest in the history of the show. Curb has a great way of escalating little real-life incidents to their natural extreme by not calling “cut.”
Because the cameras keep rolling and the actors keep improvising, Larry David and Ted Danson have the chance to escalate a guy offering another guy a piece of pie into a screaming match. Larry doesn’t want the piece of pie that Ted has bought him and Ted is determined to get him to eat the pie.
4 “Eat lobster! Have some more lobster! It’s good.”
This is Larry David’s analogy for Christianity. He thinks the only problem with Christians is that they’re not just content to worship Christ – they want everyone in the world to worship Christ and dedicate their lives to converting people.
Larry says, “Why do Christians take everything so personally with Christ? You know? It’s like, not only do you have to worship him, you want everybody to. It’s like, I eat lobster. Do I go around pushing lobster on people? Do I say, ‘You must like lobster! It’s good, it’s good.’ It’s not only where you live. You go to Africa. You travel all over the world. ‘Eat lobster! Have some more lobster! It’s good. We want you to have lobster!’”
3 “Are you my Caucasian?”
Season 3’s “Krazee Eyez Killa” episode set the template for the Larry/Leon relationship that the show would later become known for. The clash of personalities that arises from an old, Jewish, white guy hanging out with a young, streetwise, black man has resulted in comic gold from the pairing of Larry and Leon.
Years before J.B. Smoove’s Leon was introduced, Larry’s one-off friendship with the rapper Krazee Eyez Killa laid the groundwork. When Krazee Eyez did him a solid, Larry decided to flip the slang on him and say, “Are you my Caucasian?” prompting Krazee Eyez to laugh and say, “I’m your f***in’ Caucasian!”
2 “Congratulations on a great attempt at a chat and cut.”
The whole “chat and cut” thing in season 8’s “Vow of Silence” is one of the greatest social inventions in Curb history. It’s one of those unseen things that happens all the time that Larry David has picked up on.
The definition is perfect: “She’s feigning familiarity with someone she vaguely knows for the sole purpose of cutting in line...She’ll be picking up a plate any second.” And when he calls it out is perfect, too: “Congratulations on a great attempt at a chat and cut. Really good. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, that’s gonna work. Unfortunately, I happened to be in the line. So...”
1 “Prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good.”
“Prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good” is Larry David’s catchphrase. It’s the phrase he uses to describe pretty much every encounter he ever has. While it’s not much of a catchphrase in itself, his labored delivery of it is what makes it work. Legend has it that the phrase originated in one of David’s old standup routines about making conversation with your parents as an adult.
They ask, “How are you?” and you say, “Pretty good. Prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good.” Back then, David wouldn’t have known that this is the phrase he’d be best remembered for, but his delivery of it is memorable.