‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: How Leon Black Became Larry’s Permanent Houseguest

If you started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm anytime after season 8 (2011), you might wonder how main character Larry David (playing himself) ended up living with his housemate, Leon Black (J.B. Smoove).

Larry certainly doesn’t seem like the sort of guy who’d be open to sharing his living space with a grown man (or anyone else, for that matter). And when the Leon saga began in season 6, Larry did his best to halt the chain of events that led to his latter-series living situation.

But Larry couldn’t prevent Leon from entering his life on a permanent basis. Like so many other things in the character’s world, it began as a response to a guilt-trip from someone Larry cared about.

Leon Black first entered Larry’s world during ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 6

Larry David and J.B. Smoove perform in a scene from 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
Larry David and J.B. Smoove in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ | HBO

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If there’s one person who could get Larry to do anything on Curb, it’s Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). Prior to their season 6 separation, Cheryl appealed to Larry’s inner angel, often bringing out his better side.

That’s how Larry first met the Blacks — a mother (Loretta) with two children and an aunt who lost their home in a hurricane. In season 6 episode 1, Cheryl hears that disaster-relief efforts desperately need families to host those displaced after the storm. And she suggests she and Larry help.

When Cheryl first pitches the idea to Larry, he doesn’t warm to it. And when she says a family (i.e., the Blacks) could move in the following day, Larry really doesn’t like the sound of it. “Tomorrow? I would need, you know, a couple of months to mentally prepare for that,” Larry tells her. “Tomorrow.”

Cheryl gets her way, of course, and the Blacks arrive later in the episode. It doesn’t start off well (something involving a cake in the shape of a penis), and by the end of the episode Larry’s house burns down, displacing the Blacks and Davids together.

After they move to a new house in “The Anonymous Donor” (season 6 episode 2), it gets more complicated. That’s because Leon (Smoove), another Black family member, appears out of the blue. His sister Loretta (Vivica A. Fox) immediately has a question for Larry: “Which room he gonna stay in?” Before he knows what’s happening, Leon grabs his bag and moves in.

Leon sticks around after Loretta and the Blacks leave early in season 7

J.B Smoove and Larry David pose for a photo at a 'Curb' premiere
J.B. Smoove and Larry David pose at the premiere of HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ in 2009. | Toby Canham/Getty Images

The Blacks’ stay with the Davids has all sorts of consequences. One of the more improbabe ones has to be the relationship that blossoms between Larry and Loretta (Fox). It begins when Cheryl leaves. By the season 6 finale (“The Bat Mitzvah”), a distraught Larry can barely get out of bed.

But things are looking up for him on the home front: The Blacks are moving back to their own house. However, Larry and Loretta fall for each other before the end of the hour, and the Blacks are still with Larry at the start of season 7.

Their relationship goes bad by episode 2 (“Vehicular Fellatio”), and Leon arrives home to find the rest of the family moving out by episode’s end. When Larry tells him they’re gone for good, Leon reacts coolly. “That some sh*t right there,” he tells Larry.

Though Larry prompts Leon to start thinking about moving out as well, Leon doesn’t go along with it. “[I’ll be] going upstairs to eat this f*cking Chinese food,” Leon tells him. “In my f*cking room.” And he’s been living at Larry’s house ever since.