‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Guest Star Troy Kotsur Reveals the Joke That Made Larry David Break Character

The HBO comedy’s latest installment sees the “Coda” star get into a feud with the comedian at the golf course

Troy Kotsur in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Season 12 (John Johnson/HBO)

Note: The following story contains spoilers from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Season 12, Episode 3.

Sunday’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” titled “Vertical Drop, Horizontal Tug,” sees Larry David hit the golf course, where he eavesdrops on a lesson that improves his swing a little too well.

The lesson is given to Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor who is best known for his Academy Award-winning supporting role in the Apple TV+ film “Coda.” Through the rest of the episode, Kotsur’s feud with David intensifies as he’s hit in the back by one of Larry’s golf balls and later hit with a bagel intended for a homeless man.

To keep the narrative spontaneous, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is shot without a script. Cast members are given scene outlines so they can improvise lines as they go. The actor opened up about how his prior experience in improv helped him make David himself break character with a bit that didn’t make the episode’s final cut.

“In one take I use my golf club under my leg to simulate my penis and I say ‘suck on this.’ Larry was just cracking up and dying when I did that,” Kotsur told TheWrap. “I know that Larry is a pro and his improv muscles are quite strong. I wanted to see if I could make him drop character and then I did so I was like, ‘yes!’ “

Kotsur said he didn’t hesitate to guest star on the show after David and HBO contacted his manager.

“I’m grateful for winning an Oscar, and to have people’s eyes on me. I think that’s how they found me,” he said. “Of course, it was such an honor to work with Larry David. I’ve been such a big fan of his and I’ve seen all of his brilliant comedy through the years. I’m so glad to be one of many celebrities who have done cameos throughout the 20 years of ‘Curb’ and I’m so honored to have been able to be on it during the last season. I can check that off my bucket list.”

He added that he was “really glad” to have the chance to film multiple takes to offer a diverse performance, and show that deaf actors can play around with humor and not be “a victim or someone to have pity for.”

“In general, I’m always looking for a role that changes perspectives, something that people have never thought of,” Kotsur said. “It’s really nice for me to not limit myself and have a broad range and have lots of different experiences as an actor and act on as many different sets as I can.”

And now he has a new memory to share with his wife Deanne Bray, who appeared on “Curb” back in 2007.

“She was the deaf woman in the rat dog episode, if you remember that one,” he said. “It’s such an honor that both of us have been on ‘Curb’.”

Starring alongside David in Season 12 are Jeff Garlin (“The Goldbergs”), Susie Essman (“Broad City”), Cheryl Hines (“Suburgatory”), J.B. Smoove (“Mapleworth Murders”), Richard Lewis (“Anything But Love”), Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), Vince Vaughn (“Wedding Crashers”) and Tracey Ullman (“Tracey Ullman’s Show”). 

In addition to David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is executive produced by Garlin and Jeff Schaffer, with Laura Streicher and Jennifer Corey serving as co-executive producers.

New episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” air Sundays on HBO and stream on Max.

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