“I’m a Survivor!”

The Holocaust and Larry David’s Problematic Humour in Curb Your Enthusiasm

  • Jonathan Friedman
Keywords: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jewish history, comedy, Holocaust representation

Abstract

In 2004, Larry David’s HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm aired an episode entitled The Survivor, which featured two storylines—one about Hasidic Judaism and one about the Holocaust. In his writing for the comedy series Seinfeld, David created a world that had Jewish coding, but overt references to Jews and Jewish history were more oblique (“soup Nazi” and Schindler’s List episodes aside). In Curb Your Enthusiasm, David’s follow-up show about “nothing”, David frequently launched frontal assaults on everything Jewish, and many viewers found the Survivor episode beyond the pale. This paper investigates this particular episode as a case study to evaluate the broader issue of representing the Holocaust through the medium of comedy.

Published
2018-07-20