‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: Jenna Fischer’s Unforgettably Awkward Audition With Larry David

Way before she was Pam Beesly on The Office, Jenna Fischer was, like every other struggling and eager actress, looking for her breakout role.

Jenna Fischer
Jenna Fischer | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

She was hopeful, when she was called to audition for a role on HBO’s hit series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, that she would find it on the comedy. Instead she found a world of awkwardness at her audition.

Here’s what Fischer says happened and why it still makes her cringe.

How Jenna Fischer got on ‘The Office’

It’s hard to picture anyone else in the role of Pam Beesly on the iconic comedy. The 45-year-old Fischer seems to have been born for the role with her understated performance and perfect comedic timing.

“My very first audition for The Office,” she told NPR in 2013, “I had to sit in a chair, and the producer interviewed me in character. . . And my take on the character of Pam was that she didn’t have any media training, so she didn’t know how to be a good interview. And also, she didn’t care about this interview.”

“And so, I gave very short one-word answers. And I tried very hard not to be funny or clever, because I thought that the comedy would come out of just, you know, the real human reactions to the situation. And it was great. . . We clicked quickly. And they liked that take on it.”

Fischer’s financial advice to new actors

Jenna Fischer’s book on acting is part instructional and part memoir. She writes from her own rough start, that the path to fame can be long and arduous. The 45-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 what that experience was like and offered advice she wished someone had told her before she had gotten started.

“My . . . piece of advice: try to start your acting career debt-free or with very little debt. Then, don’t spend your paycheck. Save as much as you can. . . I had to decide between a low-paying acting job to further my career or a better-paying temp job to pay off my credit card debt or get new headshots that I really needed. It was definitely, definitely stressful.”  

Fischer’s audition for ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

The Indiana-born Fischer had the incredible opportunity to audition with Larry David for a part on his hit HBO show. It didn’t go as the actress had hoped – at all. She talked in her book about the experience, which might have gone better had she not been auditioning with David, whom she considers one of her idols. Her adrenaline and nervousness were amped up and it didn’t serve her well that day.

“My stomach was in knots. I’m pretty sure my voice was shaking. In the scene, I was supposed to pretend to see [Larry David] in a store, corner him, and ask if he was coming to my son’s birthday party, since I had never received his RSVP. Simple enough, right?”

Larry David of HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
Larry David of HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

“. . . I just stood there, frozen, looking at Larry, offering nothing else. I just kept muttering, ‘You didn’t RSVP.’ It was so incredibly awkward, a total bomb.” Unfortunately – that wasn’t the worst part.

“The audition petered out, and I headed for the door. As I was walking out, Larry stood to say, ‘Thanks for coming in.’ I misinterpreted his gesture, for some reason thinking he wanted to hug me goodbye. I thought it was unusual to hug goodbye at the end of an audition, but since I’d already tanked the audition, I didn’t want to be rude as well.”

“As he moved toward me, I opened my arms and moved toward him, prepared to meet him halfway. Inches from hugging him, I realized he was just gesturing to the door, not opening his arms for a hug. Ugh. It was too late. I was already hugging Larry David.”

Read more: Jenna Fischer Says This Phrase From a Casting Agent Made Her ‘Office’-Ready