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Larry David's Fictional Wife on the End of their 'Marriage'

Actress Cheryl Hines talks about her role on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' says David is 'sexy'

July 20, 2011 8:30 AM ET
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Hines and David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
©HBO

Larry David has always insisted that TV Larry is different than real-life Larry – but when real-life Larry divorced his wife, he realized he couldn't remain married on TV. For Curb Your Enthusiasm fans, that means Cheryl Hines will have a lot less screen time this season as Larry adjusts to single life. Brian Hiatt spoke with Hines about her reduced role this season, her relationship with David's ex-wife and her nearly ten-year role as Larry David' TV spouse.

So you’re not around as much this season, we can establish that?
We can establish that. It's sad. You have to understand, in another universe I feel like I’m actually married to Larry and we exist as a couple. So it’s very close to me, our relationship, our fictitious relationship.

How well did you know Laurie David?

I didn’t know Laurie at all. I had never met her before I started, even when we started shooting, the first time I met her was on set after I had already shot scenes. So I was never basing this character on her, because I didn’t need to know her. It was confusing to people because people would ask me what kind of research I did on Laurie before I started playing her. And I had to say I wasn’t playing her. And I always looked to Larry because I figured he knows what’s best because it’s his show and his world that he’s creating, so I just looked to him, and I would ask him from time to time, “Should I be talking to Laurie or spending time with her?” and he said, “No.” [Laughs.] So, that was that.

Is the divorce something that you discussed with him or did you kind of just leave it alone?
Larry and I are very good friends. I like to consider myself a good friend to him. So, I’ll say that.

I told him that Howard Stern was uncomfortable dating girls who were attracted to fame, and Larry said he welcomes that, and why else would they date him?
[Laughs.] But that’s not true! There is a part of him that is probably self-loathing. [Laughs.] "Why would somebody want to be with me if I can’t stand myself?" I think that’s probably where that’s coming from. But, he is actually a very attractive and dare I say, sexy man. He’s confident and intelligent and funny, so there are a lot of women who would love to… be with him, shall we say.

What is the essence of Larry’s talent? Why has he been the creative force behind two of the greatest TV comedies of all time. What is it about him?
If there’s a moment that feels awkward, most people are happy to move past that moment and never think about it again. Whereas Larry sees it and feels it and realizes how funny it is and then makes an entire episode of that moment. And I think that’s what people love about it. 'Cause it’s fun to laugh at yourself. It’s finding that place where most of us don’t want to stay. And he cannot wait to set up camp.

There’s a fearlessness amidst all this neuroticism – which is a weird combination.
Absolutely. You know I watched this season's first episode with him and after all this time I was still embarrassed watching the show, I was embarrassed for him because of the things that he was doing on the episode. I felt like, how could you let yourself be seen doing that? It’s hard to watch. But he doesn’t care.

Related
Larry David Talks Dating Post-Divorce, 'Seinfeld' and Wealth
The 'Curb' Effect: How Larry David Changed Comedy Forever
Photos: How Larry David Earned Your Enthusiasm
JB Smoove On Michael Richards, Larry David and a Possible 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Spin-Off
Comedian Susie Essman Explains Larry David's Genius
'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Seinfeld' Writers Talk About The Legend of Larry David
Photos: A History of Comedy Stars on the Cover of Rolling Stone
Photos: The 10 Funniest People, Video and Things of the Coming Year

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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