Coogen pushes (therapy) on 'Curb'


Loyal fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm have waited nearly two years for Larry David to return with his singular brand of vexing humor. When last we saw David, in the season five finale way back in December 2005, he was getting kicked out of heaven (by Dustin Hoffman and Sacha Baron Cohen). Returned to mere mortal status for season six (which premieres Sunday, Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO), Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) forces him to take in an African American family left homeless by a hurricane. While the David’s may have rescued the hurricane family from a bit of post-Katrina-New-Orleans-like hell-on-earth, the family finds themselves victims of Larry’s impolitic buffoonery. Upon meeting them, he marvels that an African American family has the surname Black, adding that it would be as if he were named “Larry Jew.”

The Blacks will be around for most of the season, making for a rich vein of sociological comedy.

“When you write about the Blacks,” said David during a conference call with reporters last week, “you have to say that their name is Black. We don’t want any misunderstandings.”

Vivica A. Fox stars as the Black family matriarch, who chain smokes in the David’s house and calls Larry “LD.” David’s usual stable of friends appear this season: Richard Lewis, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. California Senator Barbara Boxer appears in the second episode. And in later episodes, we’ll see John McEnroe (who gets into a verbal confrontation with Larry), Lucy Lawless (who doesn’t kick any butt) and Steve Coogen. Yes that Coogen.

Coogen will play a therapist. David said he was unaware that the British actor has been the subject of tabloid patter for his alleged role in getting Owen Wilson hooked on drugs.

A similar claim coming from anyone but David might sound dubious. But David’s stock-in-trade is an utter lack of self-awareness. He also claims, convincingly, that he doesn’t get a long hiatus between seasons of Curb.

Says David: “I only get about a month off (between seasons),” adding that he has yet to decide whether or not there will be a season seven. Of course, he played the last-season card before.

“I do that every year,” he says. “It’s the only way I can get through the season. I have to convince myself that it’s the last one.”