Comedy icon Bob Einstein — who died suddenly of cancer today — will be remembered for everything from his Super Dave Osborne character to his work on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Arrested Development, Anger Management and his two appearances on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. But to most people, he’s best known for his portrayal of Larry David’s close friend Marty Funkhouser on Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Funk Man didn’t appear until the fourth season, but the perpetually enraged character quickly become one of the most hilarious parts of the show even if nobody could figure out why he remained friends with David after suffering an endless series of horrific indignities as a result of the relationship.
It’s hard to pick out the greatest Funkhouser moment in the history of the show, but our vote comes from “The Pickle Gambit” in October of 2017 where he makes the mistake of introducing his high-school–age nephew Kenny to Larry. The kid was an All-American baseball player with a very bright future in front of him, but he breaks his elbow when he fights with David over a pickle jar. This sends him spiraling into a tailspin because his cast made it impossible for him to masturbate.
“He’s a different kid,” says Funkhouser in the clip, which you can watch above. “He’s filled with angst. He’s ready to explode. You wanna know why? The way he relaxes is the way all men relax. It’s called ejaculation. He can’t use his right hand. This is his ejaculator. It’s done. It’s in a cast. … I don’t even know him anymore. I’m scared to death of him. He can’t masturbate! He can’t go to his left. He can’t go left. No one can.”
Things grew worse from there when Larry hired a prostitute to help out Kenny, but he fell madly in love with her and followed her to Spain. In one of the darkest moments in the show’s history, he was trampled to death there by bulls. In the hands of most any other comedian, weird and morbid material like this would be very hard to sell. But in the hands of Einstein, it flowed brilliantly. The show began filming a 10th season in October, but it’s unclear if Einstein will appear in the new season.