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'Curb Your Enthusiasm' producer on what it took to get germophobe Larry David back to set

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HBO/John P. Johnson(LOS ANGELES) — Like others in the industry, Jeff Schaffer, the producer of HBO’s Emmy winning Curb Your Enthusiasm, has a unique balancing act — how to shoot the show while keeping everyone safe from COVID-19. 

“We started writing Curb before COVID, and then when COVID happened we had to change some things,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter of the show’s upcoming 11th season.

“We had to make the decision about what era we were writing — before, during or after COVID…So we made the decision to set the new season in a post-COVID world.” He adds of the Curb universe, “COVID is in the rearview mirror, but it happened. And Larry [the character] has opinions on all of it,” he says with a laugh. 

He adds, “I can’t tell you which characters got COVID, but I can definitely tell you that we do examine peoples’ behavior during the COVID era.”

Both Curb and Schaffer’s other show, the comedy Dave, are shooting under strict protocols, he explained, including masks and face shields, “bubbles” of personnel who don’t interact, and rigorous testing.

“We knew if we were going to entice Larry to come back during a pandemic we needed to have the strictest protocols. We had to convince Larry, ‘Here’s what it’s going to look like if you want to shoot. So … do you want to shoot?'”

Fans know David was a proud germophobe even before the pandemic, and was a detractor of the custom of shaking hands and an advocate of social distancing even before that was a thing. 

By Stephen Iervolino
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