Jeff Garlin co-stars and executive produces the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. The unique comedy, which is one of the rare television shows to become part of the national zeitgeist, stars Seinfeld creator Larry David, with Garlin portraying his loyal manager. Born and raised in Chicago and then South Florida, Garlin studied filmmaking and began performing stand-up comedy while at the University of Miami. He has toured the country as a stand-up comedian, is an alumnus of Chicago's Second City Theatre, and has written and starred in three critically acclaimed solo shows. I was fortunate enough to get this interview with him when he spoke at an event a charity I work with produced.
DI: Which do you prefer: writing, directing, or producing?
JG: I prefer to direct what I write.
DI: If you were to retire, what would you do with your time?
JG: Nap and eat puddin'.
DI: What's your favorite food?
DI: Of all the comedians and actors you've worked with over the years, who has been the most enjoyable.
JG: Larry David.
DI: Is Larry David as obnoxious in real life as he is on the show?
JG: See my answer above.
DI: What's the biggest difference between Chicago and L.A.?
JG: Human contact. In Chicago you get it on a regular basis.
DI: What's one of your favorite films?
JG: Sullivan's Travels by Preston Sturges.
DI: If you could have lunch with anyone deceased, who would it be?
JG: My grandfather Harold.
DI: Who's your idol?
JG: My wife.
DI: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
JG: A comedian.
DI: Where do you like to go to unwind when you're not working?
JG: Wherever my wife tells me.
DI: If you could change one thing about Hollywood, what would it be?
JG: The street names.
DI: Shakespeare wrote: "Brevity is the soul of wit." What do you think the essence of comedy is?
JG: A plate of fresh cornbread.
DI: I heard you studied law in college and almost graduated before deciding to pursue a career in comedy. Do you think you would have been a good lawyer?
JG: That's on Wikepedia.com and it's not true. I studied film.
DI: What's more difficult: performing stand-up comedy before a live audience or performing on camera?
JG: Actually, my personal life is harder.
DI: Do you own an iPod? If so, what's the most unusual music you've got on it?
JG: Chin Ho soundbites from Hawaii Five-0.
DI: Who is the funniest comedian of all-time?
JG: Jack Benny.