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Why Richard Lewis Hated Larry David Before Curb Your Enthusiasm

When comedian Richard Lewis passed away at the age of 76 on February 27, 2024, from a heart attack, the world stopped and mourned. Viewers might turn toward "Curb Your Enthusiasm," one of Lewis' final projects, which is currently airing out its final season on HBO, to witness his last few performances. And when they do, they should remember one thing — not only were Lewis and Larry David born days apart, but they also unknowingly indulged in a rivalry that went back decades.

Lewis told Confidenti@l at the American Masters "Mel Brooks: Make a Noise" event in Los Angeles in 2013 (via New York Daily News) that he and David went to the same summer camp as youths — and didn't get on at all. "I hated his guts. He was a gangly, obnoxious jerk. I hated him. He hated me. We had fistfights, I beamed him," he said. Time and fate would separate them. But they would reunite as adults on the comedy circuit and come to admire each other — at least until Lewis suddenly realized the truth while hanging out with David one evening.

"At the end of one night I looked and he scared me. It was like a Roman Polanski moment, and I said there's something about you that's satanic. And Larry gets very nervous and shaky. Then we retraced our childhood, and we realized we went to the same camp and that we were the same people — Richard Lewis and Larry David — who despised each other. Then we almost had a fistfight in the club."

Thankfully, David didn't do something terrible in the manner of his fictional counterpart. Instead, a friendship and comedic collaboration would form. It's one that David is already clearly mourning.

Larry David touchingly eulogized Richard Lewis after his passing

Larry David and Richard Lewis would, over the ensuing years, continue to be compatriots on the comedy circuit. Lewis said in 2013 that he encouraged David to go to therapy. "He went in and out," he recalled. "He ran out once when I took him. Ran out. In group therapy. We caught him in a phone booth on First Ave. hiding from 10 neurotic Jews. And we're saying, 'You need us!' And he's saying, 'I don't need anybody!' And he wouldn't come out. And I don't know if he ever went back."

Lewis thought that their close connection was reflected in how their characters interact throughout the body of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." And it's clearly a close connection that endures beyond the bounds of death. David released a statement through HBO on January 28, 2024, obtained via Variety, in which he lauded his close friend. "Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he's been like a brother to me," he wrote. "He had that rare combination of being the funniest person and also the sweetest. But today he made me sob and for that I'll never forgive him." And the world will never forget Richard Lewis.