How Larry David and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Handled the Pandemic for the Show’s 2021 Return

The final episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10 aired on HBO in Match 2020. Suddenly, the germaphobic Larry David character, with hand sanitizer everywhere in sight, seemed like the wise (or at least prescient) one. COVID-19 was spreading around the world.

Not long after, fans and cast members alike began wondering if there’d be another season of Curb. What would Larry’s world of spite stores and frequent shouting look like under masks? As for the pandemic’s mandates on social distancing and sanitation, Larry already had that part down.

According to Curb Your Enthusiasm executive producer Jeff Schaffer, he and David had done a significant amount of work on a season 11 when the COVID-19 reached the U.S. So they had to make a decision.

“We didn’t want what we were writing in March 2020 to be so timely that it would feel dated more than a year later [when the new season would air],” Schaffer told The Hollywood Reporter on December 21. With that in mind, Schaffer and David decided to look beyond the pandemic.

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ writers decided to write season 11 in a post-pandemic world

Larry David with mask
Larry David leaves an office building on October 14, 2020, in Los Angeles. | MEGA/GC Images

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At the end of March, Schaffer was keeping his cards close to his vest when he spoke about a possible 11th season of Curb. He didn’t want to commit, but at the same time he acknowledged he’d been working on new storylines with David.

Speaking with THR in December ’20, Schaffer said he and David chose to “change some things” after COVID-19 became a national emergency. But instead of creating a scenario that had all the characters in lockdown, they looked ahead to late 2021.

“We made the decision to set the new season in a post-COVID world,” Schaffer told THR. “COVID definitely happened and we definitely talk about it. But we were assuming that Biden would win and that things would be better by the fall of 2021. COVID is in the rearview mirror, but it happened.”

Production for ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 11 began in November ’20

Cheryl Hines and Larry David at a 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' premiere
Cheryl Hines and Larry David attend the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” season 9 premiere on September 27, 2017. | Mike Pont/FilmMagic

At the time of writing, David and Schaffer had the entire story down and were already into the second month of filming Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11. As you might imagine, the COVID-19 protocols have made production an extremely complicated process.

Schaffer told THR that the Curb team began researching how they might shoot nearly seven months before the first day of filming. And that he takes COVID-19 tests five times a week for Curb. (Schaffer also produces Dave for FXX and was taking tests for that show separately.)

So how could someone like Larry David ever agree to produce a TV series with a pandemic raging across the country? “The fact that Larry is back on set is a tribute to classic writers syndrome,” Schaffer told THR. “We already wrote the season; we did the hard part. So, let’s do the fun part!”