The episode entitled "The Black Swan" is more than just a prett-ay, prett-ay good half hour of TV. It's our No. 1 Curb Your Enthusiasm ever. Creator/star Larry David took the HBO program to sublime comedic heights late last year when, during a round of golf with his buddies, his character bludgeons an attacking swan with an iron, then covers up the crime. We reunited the Seinfeld co-creator and 10-handicap with episode co-stars Bob Einstein, Jeff Garlin, and Richard Kind (plus one stuffed bird) on location at MountainGate Country Club in Los Angeles to talk swans, swings, and golf regrets.
Larry, you rarely do interviews. Why did you agree to hit balls and pose with a dead swan today?
Larry David: Honestly? I don't know. I woke up today and had a debate: "You're not going out there." "Yes you are." "You can't even make a full turn, you schmuck!" But here I am.
Where did the idea for "The Black Swan" come from? And did you get any complaints from PETA?
Bob Einstein, aka Marty Funkhouser, interrupting: PETA was very angry, actually. They wrote a letter of complaint: "Not enough Funkhouser."
LD: I got the idea when I heard a story about a swan attacking someone on a course, and a light bulb went off. I could just see myself killing a swan.
You've used golf in many Curb episodes, like "The Weatherman," when a scheming meteorologist predicts rain so he can have the course to himself. Why is the game fertile comedic territory?
LD: Golf's always been a big part of my life. There was golf in SeinfeldKramer in "The Marine Biologist." I have a hobby I stink at. I've regretted 90 percent of the rounds I've played.
The dialogue is ad-libbed. Jeff, you have a classic line, chastising Richard, "Never tell your wife you're playing golf! The only time I tell my wife I'm playing golf is when I'm with another woman."
Jeff Garlin: Everything I say comes out of the moment. Men could connect with that line.
Bob, what memory from shooting that episode jumps out at you?
BE: Terrible food on-set. Awful.
Richard Kind: I remember Larry was supposed to mis-hit a tee shot, but he couldn't. He kept hitting bullets down the fairway.
Larry, it sounds like you have a love-hate relationship with golf.
LD: It's a time-sucking hobby. If there's an afterlife, and I come face to face with the Big Guy, I think he'll look at me and say, "Golf? Really? That's what you did for 80 years? You idiot!"
Curb Your Enthusiasm's eighth season premieres in 2011 on HBO.