Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld creator Larry David is one of the most beloved modern comedic creators, but he loathed working at SNL. According to David, Saturday Night Live had some toxic policies when it came to expected work hours — policies that, unsurprisingly, he flouted. What’s more, Larry David struggled to get any of his sketches aired, and wound up quitting for a single night. Interestingly, he’s not alone in his memories of a miserable workplace. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is right there with him.
‘SNL’ expected employees to work ridiculous hours
During an interview on the Kevin Pollak Chat Show, Larry David revealed that SNL expected him to work absurd hours even when his work was complete, and he wasn’t having it. In typical Larry David style, he made his opinion known and stuck with it.
“I remember writing a couple of sketches, some news pieces. I was fortified for the first show. And at seven o’clock at night, maybe six o’clock I don’t know, it’s a Tuesday night and the next day is the first read-through,” explained Larry David.
“And I press the button for the elevator, and the elevator doors open, and the executive producer — it was Dick Ebersol — and he said, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘I’m going home, you know.’ He said, ‘You’re going home, really?’”
“I said, ‘Yeah, I wrote, I got two or three sketches in. Got two news pieces.’ And he said, ‘Well we don’t uh, we stay up all night on the night before the read-through.’ And I go, ‘Why? Why would you stay up all night?’” added David, laughing at the ridiculous requirement.
“And he said, ‘Well, that’s how we do it.’ How you do what? I don’t understand. They’ve been there a month you know, six weeks. What is gonna be accomplished for the next what, eight, nine, ten hours to stay up all night? For what? And I said, ‘Well, you know, I did the work. So I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I left. Never got a sketch on.”
Larry David quit ‘SNL’ and then pretended he hadn’t
Larry David decided, eventually, that he’d had enough of SNL, and called it quits in an explosive outburst at Dick Eversol.
“About five, six shows in, I haven’t gotten anything on the air. The sketches, I have to say, played very well at the read-through. Another one of my sketches got cut after dress, and it’s about five minutes before the show’s about to start. And I walk up to Dick and I just went crazy,” he told Kevin Pollak.
“I said, ‘This f—— show stinks! It f—— stinks! I’m done! Gone! I’ve had it! I quit!’ Went home.”
However, he soon realized he’d made a grave mistake. He started considering the money he’d lose, and that’s when his neighbor Kramer saved the day.
“So I go home and my neighbor, Kramer, he says, ‘What are you doing home why aren’t you at the show?’ I said, ‘I lost my temper, they cut my sketch, I quit.’ He said, ‘What’d you do that for? … You know what you should do? You should go back on Monday morning and pretend the whole thing never happened.’ And I said, ‘Geeze, so easy. That’s a great idea,’” recalled David.
“So on Monday morning, there’s a writers’ meeting. I go in, I say good morning to people. I take a seat. Now everybody heard this outburst. And I’m getting looks like, you know, what are you doing here? But no one is saying it, I’m just getting looks.”
“And then Dick starts to go around the room asking people what they’re working on, you know. We got to me, and I said, I’m thinking about doing this sketch of this acrobatic troupe.’ … Moved on to the next person and that was that,” he explained.
Larry David wound up using this real-life experience to write a similar event for George Costanza on Seinfeld — unsurprisingly Costanza is modeled after David himself.