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Editing the Pretty, Pretty Good Material on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

"We're trying to pluck together the best stuff into a coherent scene in the funniest way possible."10/18/2017 12:45 PM Eastern
Larry David, photo by John P. Johnson/courtesy of HBO
HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, starring Larry David, recently returned to HBO for its ninth season. Asked why he decided to come back, David said, "In the immortal words of Julius Caesar, 'I left, I did nothing, I returned."

"Curb uses no script; instead the actors improvise their dialogue based on a bare outline," explains Daron James. "Two opposing cameras simultaneously record the action, and then in post the editors [Steve Rasch and Jonathan Corn] must comb through all the footage to find the beats of an episode that can take up to three weeks to finish.

""We're trying to pluck together the best stuff into a coherent scene in the funniest way possible,' says co-editor Corn. Adds Rasch: 'Our goal is to make great sentences, not great edits. We make scenes sound natural — as if they were written that way.'" To read the full article, click here.

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Larry David and Bob Einstein, photo by John P. Johnson/courtesy of HBO

Corn tells Daron James, "Editorially, it's a lot of fun because it is just an outline. Our cast has the freedom to go off in various directions and no good idea goes unexplored. No matter who it comes from, they will keep working that idea whether it’s one take or several.

"The outline does a great job laying out what we need in a scene, but there’s looseness to the way they shoot it. As an editor, we pluck together the story information and the best jokes or nuances in each take to try to put together a coherent scene in the funniest way possible."



Co-editor Steve Rasch adds, "Other comedies have tried this improv/outline style. It usually fails as improvisation is a skill that most actors do not necessarily possess. Curb tests most of the talent in an audition—even an established actor.

"Additionally, Curb succeeds because Larry is a genius improvisor, and he can be funny in the moment, while at the same time, he has the story beats of the outline in his head. He can steer the improv back to the essential story beats, while he's improvising. Not easy. But if something original pops up in take four, Larry will make sure to explore that topic. Sometimes these incidental improv additions become classic Curb moments." To read the full interview, click here

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