Last week, Howard Stern interviewed Larry David. I’m way past the age of having heroes, or role models, but I have to say Larry David is about as close as it comes, though.
Sure, Larry David is a comedic genius. The way he sees the mundane, pulls out these little nuggets and makes YOU realize how funny it actually is… well, that’s simply brilliant! He’s also a master of improv. His shows are lightly scripted with the entire crew just kind of rolling with the dialogue as they go. Then there’s the whole Seinfeld thing. Jerry was the guy in front of the camera, but the real driver of the show was Larry for the reasons already discussed here.
Those things are great and by themselves would garner accolades. Why I think so much of Larry is the fact he’s not a sellout… no matter what the impact it has on him personally was. Getting signed to do a network TV show. That’s the end game for most. Basically it’s like when you make it that far, you’ve won.
Once the show has enough episodes to go into syndication the power shifts to the creators and the stars of the show. The network needs them to keep it going and the gravy train coming in. Prior to that, though, the networks typically hold all of the cards. They have the ability to cancel a show at any time, immediately ending any chance to win the syndication jackpot for the cast and crew.
Larry David didn’t follow this protocol, though. While anyone else falls into line when a network bosses them around, Larry would push back… way back. He was always willing to walk away unless the networked caved and did what he wanted, make that NEEDED, to do to make his show funny. The artistic freedom and expression was more important to him than the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if he just fell in line with the suits at NBC.
With Jerry running interference with the management at NBC he and Larry pushed their way to the greatest sitcom of all-time.
In my own writing career, I’ve tried to follow Larry’s lead. Be true to yourself. Understand your audience and deliver the product you know better than anyone they want.
Larry David might seem like a weird guy to look up to. His career might not be “celebrity” enough to most. Perhaps you don’t get his humor. Maybe you think he’s a little crass. He might even be a little unstable.
The guy knows how to deliver pure entertainment, though. No matter what anyone else thinks or tries to do about it!