ShortList is now ad free and supported by you, the users. When you buy through the links on our site we may earn a commission. Learn more

20 vital life lessons we’ve learned from 20 years of Curb Your Enthusiasm

They're pretty... pretty... pretty good.

20 vital life lessons we’ve learned from 20 years of Curb Your Enthusiasm
15 October 2020

Larry David is everyone’s favourite grouchy, bald, retired writer. Even after 10 seasons and 20 years, Curb Your Enthusiasm is still essential TV.

With the show celebrating its 20th birthday, we thought we would share some life lessons we have gleaned from Curb over the years.

In short: Larry is a man of multitudes and a die-hard rationalist but… yeah, learn from his mistakes.

1. Sometimes you have to lie

“A lie is a gesture,” says Larry. “It’s a courtesy, it’s a little respect!”

2. Your best intentions will often be wrong

Like when Larry invited a Holocaust survivor to dinner to meet another ‘survivor’ who turns out to be a guy who used to be on the TV reality show Survivor: The Australian Outback and this fucking guy says his show was tougher than Auschwitz. He was just trying to help.

3. Never try to help

It’s just much safer to stay out of everything.

4. Always respect wood

"I respect wood,” says Larry when accused by Julia Louis-Dreyfus of leaving a ring on her heirloom table. “I revere wood. I am considerate of wood.” Ask everyone you love: Do you respect wood? Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t respect wood.

5. Do not accept chat-and-cuts

The chat-and-cut: When someone feigns familiarity with a person they vaguely know for the sole purpose of cutting in line. Great attempt; back of the line.

6. And you do not have to accept stop-and-chats, either

Just because you see someone in the street does not mean you have to stop and chat. You have to take stop-and-chats on a case-by-case-basis.

7. But sometimes you have to let people have their moment

If someone offers you a house tour, just take the fucking tour.

8. The Staredown is your secret weapon

Just keep looking. Don’t break eye contact. You’ll see right into their soul.

9. Always have a glass in your hand at social occasions

“When I'm in social situations I always hold onto my glass. It makes me feel comfortable and secure, and I don't have to shake hands.”

10. And always look after your sweater cuffs

Respect the cuff, otherwise it will lose its elasticity and your day will be ruined. “There are very few subjects I'm an expert on,” says Larry, “and one of them is elastic.”

11. Don’t wear sunglasses indoors

“You know who wears sunglasses inside?” Larry asks Jeff. “Blind people and assholes.” He’s not wrong.

12. Cum is not cum (skip to 1:40)

You might think cum is cum but your cum does not look like another’s, especially if they bring da ruckus.

13. And bowing is not bowing

If someone bends a few degrees, that is not an apology: they are not sorry at all. They are dismissive of you. That is a shit bow. A deep bow: that’s what you want. A deep, almost-90-degree bow, “I’m very sorry” bow.

14. Job interviews are a piece of cake

All you have to do is flip it and start asking them questions. You have to topsy-turvy that motherfucker.

15. You can’t pause toast

Once bread is toasting you can’t interrupt. You interrupt and that bread is dead. “If you put this bread back in the machine,” says Leon, “it’s gonna lose its essence.”

16. The days of elevator etiquette are dead and gone

What's the point? "Let me tell you something," says Larry, "my days of elevator etiquette are over. Over! I'm not holding doors anymore. I'm not letting women out first anymore. That's done!"

17. There IS such thing as an ugly section in a restaurant

"You know what I think? You have a good-looking section and an ugly section," says Larry to the owner of a trendy restaurant that seems to be discriminating when it comes to the good seats. They disagree but perseveration helps Larry uncover just what is going on.

18. Always get a second opinion

When you are facing a lengthy hospital stay after surgery it's always best to get a second opinion from a doctor who reckons rest and Ibuprofen will do the trick.

19. Setting something up out of spite isn't the best idea

"I am setting up a store right opposite and I am going to bring you down," says Larry to Mocha Joe in Season 10. But he doesn't have the beans, reckons Joe, to beat his coffee. "I'll get better beans. I will find better beans. And you know what I am going to call it? Latte Larry." Setting up a spite store is really only going to go one way.

20. Learn to spell

"It Was Supposed To Say ‘Beloved Aunt,’ Not ‘Beloved C***!"