‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: Albert Brooks’ Appearance Is a Small Nod to Marty Funkhouser

HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11 guest star, comedian Albert Brooks was maybe a small nod to his brother Bob Einstein, who played Marty Funkhouser for several seasons of the series.

Einstein died during season 10, but the series never addressed his death. Instead, writers sent Funkhouser to China … and he simply never returned. And while Freddy Funkhouser (Vince Vaughn) joined the cast last season, having Brooks make a guest appearance may have reminded fans that Einstein will always live on in the series.

Albert Brooks attends his own funeral on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Brooks joined the cast for the Curb Season 11 opener, throwing a funeral for himself because why wait for death to hear all the wonderful comments people have to say about you? Like many actors on the show, he played himself and a friend of Larry David’s. In fact, it was David who was in charge of Brooks’ fake eulogy, held in Brooks’ living room.

Albert Brooks joins Curb Your Enthusiasm as what seemed to be a small nod to his brother Bob Einstein
Albert Brooks joins Curb Your Enthusiasm as what seemed to be a small nod to his brother Bob Einstein|Jesse Grant/WireImage

But when David has to use the bathroom, he discovers that Brooks is a pandemic supply hoarder, his closet crammed with hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Of course, when everyone at the faux funeral sees the closet, they come for Brooks, reeling from the fallout from 2020. The episode ends when Brooks joins David at the symphony and musicians bust out the Curb theme song, “Frolic.”

The ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ cast were in shock that Bob Einstein died

The Curb cast seemed to be in a state of shock when Einstein died of cancer in 2019. “Never have I seen an actor enjoy a role the way Bob did playing ‘Marty Funkhouser’ on Curb,” David said in a statement (via Deadline). “It was an amazing, unforgettable experience knowing and working with him. There was no one like him, as he told us again and again. We’re all in a state of shock.”

Brooks tweeted, “R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein. A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man. You will be missed forever.”

Executive producer Jeff Schaffer told The Hollywood Reporter, “It was way too soon and we loved him too much to say that he had actually passed away on the show.”

Jeff Garlin said that Einstein’s death hit hard. “You’re talking about somebody who was a close friend of mine and Larry’s,” Garlin told the New York Daily News. “Really close.” He added, “So it hit us not only creatively, but it hit us on a much deeper level personally.”

Why was Marty Funkhouser sent to China?

Garlin and Schaffer explained why Funhauser was sent to China instead of having his death addressed on the show. “Maybe just because we didn’t want to admit that he was gone,” Schaffer said. “It was easier to say, ‘Oh, he’s in China. He’ll be back.’”

Garlin said writing in the death was too much. “Why do we need that on a comedy show?” Garlin said on the Last Laugh podcast. “That doesn’t fit on our show. There is no melancholy on Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Writers tried to keep the Funkhouser name going during season 10 by also adding Chaz Bono as Joey Funkhouser, who played Marty Funkhouser’s transitioning daughter. Bono said the episode worked and he felt comfortable in the role.

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“Honestly, it worked really well and wasn’t offensive,” Bono told The Hollywood Reporter. “I mean, not any more than anything on that show.”

He added, “I thought it was really funny. But the whole time I was filming it, I was wondering how it would work. I can’t speak for all trans people, but you know, for myself, what’s in my pants is not a subject that I ever want to talk about. It’s one of those things that people can get fixated on and I find it to be maddening. I was in an uncomfortable space shooting it, though I really enjoyed the process because I loved working with those guys and it was really fun to do something that was completely different like improv. It was a weird experience.”