Foul-Mouthed Susie Essman Talks 'Curb: The Conversation'
By Mike Ryan Posted May 22nd 2010 04:00PM
PopEater spoke to Essman about the discussion panels, the upcoming eighth season, whether it's acceptable to even call the show just 'Curb,' and, of course, her time on the set of 'Crocodile' Dundee II.'
Good idea to have a round table discussion after each episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' Every show in syndication should do that.
I think it depends on the show; some shows don't have that much to talk about. I think 'Curb,' in particular, I started watching from a different perspective once I started doing this show. There are so many ethical and moral dilemmas that Larry comes up with -- that he gets himself into, that people impose upon him. And you realize when you're watching it how concerned he is with justice and injustice. And we have a great, eclectic, group of people. Each panel has four people on it and then myself. We've got rabbis, psychiatrists, comedians, actors, and lawyers. We have Gloria Allred, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Hamm, Dr. Drew, D.L. Hughley, Adam Carolla -- we just have a great group of people. And there have been a lot of fireworks.
Jon Hamm discussing 'Curb' is appealing.
He's great! Jon Hamm can discuss whatever he wants with me at any time.
It's interesting that this is going to be on the TV Guide Network. A lot of people just think of that as the channel with the scroll...
For all intents and purposes, it mostly does at this point. They bought 'Curb,' they bought 'Weeds,' they bought 'Ugly Betty' -- they're rebranding the network. And I think all the shows that they're buying have been edgy and interesting. And they're buying a bunch of movies and they're doing original programming -- so I think the scroll is a thing of the past.
Yeah, with DVR, the scroll has become obsolete.
I use my digital guide. But it's a great brand name. We used to get TV Guide when I was a kid delivered every week. I used to do those crossword puzzles because they were the only ones I could do: It would be 'Little House blank the Prairie.' They're really behind the project and one of the reasons we're doing this discussion thing is they made the choice -- which I think is the absolute correct choice -- not to edit down our 30-minute show into 22 minutes with commercials. We're adding content as opposed to taking away. I mean, I did go into the studio and loop all of my 'f***s,' but that doesn't take away from the show. Because my anger is still there and that's the thing with Susie. The storyline is so dense and so interwoven, and if they started editing out story points, it just wouldn't work.
So there wasn't a second version of the scene filmed, like they do with movies for the airlines?
We never did that. We did it this past season, season seven, because we knew we were already syndicated. But before that, we never did it.
When do you guys start shooting the next season?
We start at the end of June.
And they will air early next year?
Susie chats with Jimmy Fallon:
I don't know exactly, but spring 2011 would be my assumption. I don't know for sure, but it wouldn't be before that because if we start in June then we finish in November and Larry takes forever to edit. He puts a lot of time into editing.
Has he told you what the general theme will be for the net season?
My lips are sealed.
But you do know, right?
I know a little bit. He doesn't tell me everything [laughs]. I'll tell you this; we'll be shooting in New York for a couple of episodes. I live in New York, this is my home, I never moved to LA I stay in a hotel when I'm out there. So now I'll be home and they will all be in hotels.
Do you ever get laryngitis after screaming so much?
Yes. Frequently. At the end of the day when I have to do the screaming, yelling, stuff -- as a matter of fact, in the looping, I saved my screaming stuff for the end of the day because I would get hoarse.
You were at the Bob Saget celebrity roast. How long did it take you to figure out what Norm Macdonald was doing with his segment?
You know, Norm is such an oddball. He's so quirky that you never know where he's going to go. So you just know that whenever Norm's up there, it's going to be something odd. And I still haven't figured it out.
It's hard to ignore that you were in 'Crocodile Dundee II.'
Yes, that was one of the first movies I ever did. It was many, many years ago.
Did you get to meet Paul Hogan?
I did meet Paul Hogan! As I recall -- and this is like 20 years ago or more -- he was lovely. He was a very nice man. And we shot in a subway in the middle of the night and, to me, it's like "all the glamour of movie making," and then I'm in a subway in the middle of the night.
You were also in 'Punchline.' I have mixed feelings about that movie. Why is it so hard to make a movie about stand-up comedy?
A couple of reasons. I had a little part that they just threw me, but my real job on that movie is that I was Sally Field's coach, behind the scenes, so she could be a comedian. And I had been doing stand-up for maybe two years, three years. And the flew me out to LA, and all of a sudden I'm in Sally's house with her Oscars and that was a trip for me. I think it's really hard because the beauty of stand up -- when stand up works best -- is when it's live. And it's a live experience. You can't capture that. The movie 'Lenny,' I think, captured some of that. Bob Fosse directed that with Dustin Hoffman. But, again, it's difficult to capture the live energy in a movie or even when I see stand up on TV. It never really works for me. I don't enjoy doing stand-up on TV.
That's a good point. When it comes to 'Punchline,' Tom Hanks is a really funny guy, but his stand-up seemed off.
Well, being a funny actor, or even if you're doing something like 'SNL,' it's completely different than stand-up.
Where do you stand on fans calling 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' just 'Curb'?
It never occurred to me. That's what I call it...
But you're allowed, you're involved with the show.
You know what, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is a mouthful. It's not just that it's three words, it's 'Curb Your En-thu-si-as-m.' It doesn't bother me when people call it 'Curb.' But I know what you're saying, people feel like they're in, kind of...
Like when someone who doesn't know Robert De Niro refers to him as 'Bobby.'
Yeah, I totally agree with that. But, my mother used to do that about Leonard Bernstein. She used to refer to him as 'Lenny' and that used to drive me crazy. I used to be like, 'You don't know him! He's not your friend!' Calling it 'Curb' is not so bad because it's part of the title. Some people call it 'CYE,' which is confusing to me, then I feel like it's 'CSI.' I understand where you're coming from. Those kinds of things do bother me, but it doesn't bother me about 'Curb.'
At least your mom was on the right track with Leonard Bernstein. My mom once called Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Bernstein.
[Laughs] Well, she had to make him a Jew.
Read more: Larry David Talks 'Curb,' 'American Idol' Favorites
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