Curb Your Enthusiasm Bled A Little Too Much Into Richard Lewis' Real Life

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" is Larry David's semi-fictional masterpiece, but the show can occasionally get all too real for some of the main cast members. David plays a dramatized version of himself on the HBO comedy series, as do many of his long-time friends. This includes comedian Richard Lewis, who has been heavily featured on "Curb" for many years.

Lewis and David are often at odds in the series. "Whenever I do a scene [with David] we basically argue 99% of the time," Lewis explained to The Paley Center. For example, in "The Lefty Call," they engage in a competition over whose colon is cleaner. The two comics have used their contentious friendship to their advantage on "Curb." "Our fights are almost no different on the show except maybe in how loud they are in real life," Lewis confessed to THR.

David and Lewis met at summer camp as children and instantly disliked each other. Lewis "hated" David at the time, he told Howard Stern, until the comedy circuit brought them back together years later. After a night of reminiscing about their childhoods, they realized where they had met years earlier and their decades-old conflict was reignited. "We came to blows at the bar," Lewis recalled. This familiar and combative dynamic is rooted in the real-life friendship between the two comedians.

The show draws quite a lot from the reality of David and Lewis' friendship. "Curb" is ultimately a work of fiction, but every so often — at the worst possible moments — the imagined world of the show seeps into Lewis' real world.

Even at the doctor's office

One sunny day in Los Angeles, Richard Lewis was waiting for his car to be valeted after getting a colonoscopy when he was approached by a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fan (via THR).

"The guy says to me, 'Are you going to have a colon fight with Larry?' I go, 'You know what? Just do me a favor. I could be dying. Let me get my colonoscopy.' So then I get the car, and some other guy is walking to his car, and he goes, 'Richard, is your kidney OK?' I go, 'What are you talking about?' He goes, 'Well, you've got Larry's kidney.' I go, 'No, no.' I said, 'Please, please."

Lewis understands why the show gives a documentary-like impression. "It gets to the point where, because we're playing our own names and our own people, our own persons, people do believe it." The series also feels real because the actors get truly emotional with each other. "I might be unraveling in some scenes, and Larry might be upset and angry but funny," Lewis admitted. "But I felt it was like doing a Cassavetes movie, but as a comedy. Because it's so real, and it gets really intense sometimes."

These arguments have even affected Lewis' relationship with his wife, the comedian told The Paley Center. His scenes with David would put Lewis in such a combative mood when he got home from work that he would argue with his wife too. "We've gone to counseling over this," he revealed.

Even though it's uncomfortable when "Curb" seeps into Lewis' reality, the comedian still "take[s] pride" in how believable the show is, he told THR. It might make Lewis' life easier if "Curb" was a more obvious fiction, but it wouldn't be half as interesting to watch.