Richard Lewis ‘disliked Larry David intensely’ when they first met: ‘He was cocky, he was arrogant’

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ stars are now firm friends

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 26 August 2023 15:25 BST
Curb Your Enthusiasm star Richard Lewis shares Parkinson's diagnosis

Actor and comedian Richard Lewis has admitted that his first encounter with Larry David didn’t go so smoothly.

The longtime friends, who star together in David’s hit sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, were born three days apart in Brooklyn Jewish Hospital in Crown Heights. However, they didn’t meet until 12 years later, at summer camp.

Lewis, 76, has now recalled his first impression of David, admitting that he “couldn’t wait” to get away from him.

“I disliked him intensely,” he told The Spectator. “He was cocky, he was arrogant. When we played baseball, I tried to hit him with the ball: we were arch-rivals. I couldn’t wait for the camp to be over just to get away from Larry. I’m sure he felt the same way.”

They didn’t meet again until a decade later while they were working New York’s stand-up comedy circuit. It was then that they became close friends, apparently not recognising one another straight away.

“I looked at his face and I said, ‘There’s something about you, man, that spooks me.’” David apparently responded: “You’re Richard Lewis!” Lewis: “You’re Larry David!”

Lewis only appeared in one episode of the previous season of Curb, due to health issues. He revealed in April this year that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2021, and had been having a “rocky time”.

Richard Lewis with Larry David in 2013

In a video shared to X/Twitter, Lewis explained that he’d intended to retire from performing live shortly before his diagnosis – something he was feeling positive about – “and then out of the blue, the s*** hit the fan”.

Lewis receieved a brain scan after undergoing four major surgeries “back to back to back to back”, including a hip replacement, when he noticed he was “shuffling” his feet while walking.

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“I went to a neurologist and they gave me a brain scan and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,” he said. “That was about two years ago, but luckily I got it late in life and they say you progress very slowly, if at all, and I’m on the right meds, so I’m cool.”

Parkinson’s is a condition in which parts of the brain gradually become progressively damaged over the years. The three most common symptoms are involuntary shaking of parts of the body, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles.

Lewis confirmed to TheSpectator that he will appear in around half the episodes of the next season of Curb.

“Larry never does the show unless he thinks it’s going to be better than the last,” he said. “At least on paper, and with the guest stars and the cast, he has the best year ever. But he’ll be the judge because he edits it.”

Lewis has appeared in Curb since the first season aired in 2000, after breaking through as a comedian on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He announced he was retired from standup in April this year.

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