DAVID BIANCULLI

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ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

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NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Larry David’s Original Mania… The Beatle Kind —
December 5, 2016  | By Eric Gould
 

Among the many interviews David conducted for his look at the evolution of TV’s Platinum Age, he talked with another David, Larry, about the genre of “Splitcoms” — situation comedies like Seinfeld that are set half in the lead character’s home, with the other in the workplace. They discussed Larry David’s one year stint on Saturday Night Live where he encountered Julia Louis-Dreyfus and his eventual gig as head writer of Seinfeld’s show. But before all that, he had a fledgling career as an LA stand-up comic which got him cast in the 1980-82 ABC late-night comedy series Fridays, which LD comments “was a kind of a rip-off” of Saturday Night Live. (“Not kind of,” he emphasizes in correction.) He co-starred there with Michael Richards who would later go on to be cast as Kramer on Seinfeld.

There are many Fridays clips on Youtube which illustrate David’s style back then — an aggressive kind of Andy Kaufmann-like, anti-punchline method that was meant to provoke the audience as much as it was to make them laugh. One recurring bit, a character named Solly Mullins, was a temp worker who showed up to all sorts of preposterous gigs, like standing in for Gloria Steinem at a feminist rally and this one, where he stands in for John Lennon who does not show up for a world-wide Beatles reunion. This is a low-res, bootleg version, but you can still see the origins of David’s later characters who are proudly smug, scheming, intellectual… and not always laugh-out-loud hilarious. Stick around for the end, where he leads the way on “Hard Days Night.”—Eric Gould

 
 
 
 
 
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