TV | October 22, 2021 8:06 am

Larry’s 50 Funniest Grievances on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Ranked

From the deeply relatable to the wonderfully petty, these are our favorites of LD's peeves

Curb Your Enthusiasm
These are our favorite social assassin's 50 funniest targets.
HBO

On Oct. 24, Curb Your Enthusiasm will return for its 11th season, and while we don’t know much about what this season’s plot will entail, we’re willing to bet that at some point it involves Larry David becoming very annoyed and fighting back against society’s many unwritten — and often illogical — rules. It’s been more than 20 years since the Seinfeld creator’s semi-autobiographical series made its debut on HBO, and while the world has changed significantly since then, Larry has remained the same: cranky, confused by social conventions and totally willing to speak his mind, no matter what the consequences may be.

To celebrate our curmudgeonly hero’s triumphant return to television, we’ve rounded up and ranked 50 of his funniest grievances from Curb‘s first 10 seasons below. Some are reasonable and relatable and others are delightfully petty, but we’ve gotta say, they’re all prettayyyyyy, prettttayyyyyyyy good.

50. Incorrect weather forecasts

Season 4, Episode 4

Larry suspects his local weatherman is falsely predicting rain in order to ensure himself an empty golf course, and when he confronts him on this, the meteorologist explains, “The jet stream is controlled by the rotation of the earth. You know who controls that? God.” “There’s a jet stream of bullshit coming out of your mouth,” Larry responds.

49. Private bathrooms

Season 3, Episode 4

Private bathrooms are a recurring issue for Larry. In later seasons, he balks when his lawyer won’t allow him to use the private bathroom in his office, but in this Season 3 episode, he accidentally gets a nanny (played by Cheri Oteri) fired after he convinces her to let him use the house bathroom instead of the cabana’s at a pool party. After she loses her job, she shows up at Larry’s with a suitcase in hand, expecting him to either make things right with her boss or take her in.

48. Being asked to take off your shoes

Season 1, Episode 3

Just three episodes into the series, we get a good sense of Larry’s stubbornness when he refuses to take his shoes off inside the host’s home despite being asked to at a dinner party. “My feet have a tendency to get a little chilly,” he explains. Later, he accidentally breaks a lamp, and the shoe issue resurfaces, as his host points out, “It doesn’t really affect you, Larry, the glass on the floor. No, because you’re wearing your fucking shoes in my house.”

47. Doctor’s office sign-in policy

Season 1, Episode 5

This one represents the rare occasion in which Larry actually gets what he wants. After complaining about his doctor’s office’s “first come, first served” policy that allowed a woman with an 11:45 appointment to be seen before him (despite the fact that he had an 11:30) solely because she signed in earlier than he did, Larry finds out that the office has actually taken his suggestion to heart and changed their policy. Of course, this happens on a day when he happened to sign in first and would have been seen earlier, angering him yet again; as the astute receptionist notes, “It’s not about the policy at all, it’s more just about you being first?”

46. “Special sections” of cemeteries

Season 3, Episode 6

Larry’s horrified to learn that his mother has been buried in a special section — along with “the villains, the suicides, the gentiles who are from mixed marriages” — of the Jewish cemetery where he purchased a plot for her because she had a tattoo on her ass. Naturally, he comes up with a plot to dig her up and return her to her rightful place.

45. Outdated magazines in the waiting room

Season 4, Episode 7

“What are you doing, stealing your magazines from garbage cans?” Larry asks his doctor. “I have never seen such
a collection of shit in my life. They’re all four years old, those things.”

44. People who force caterers to wear bow-ties

Season 6, Episode 5

Larry and Jeff laughing uncontrollably at a book called Mondo Freaks at Ted Danson’s birthday party is perhaps the more memorable moment from Season 6’s “The Freak Book,” but earlier in the evening, Larry irks Ted by calling him out for requiring the catering employees at the event to wear bow-ties. “Makes me a little uncomfortable, seeing a guy like that having to stand there wearing a bow-tie the whole night,” he says. “That’s not cool. Feels like you’re putting on airs or something. He’s gotta feel bad so you can feel good? Is that how the world works for you?”

43. Phone cut-off time

Season 1, Episode 6

Larry spends much of Season 1’s “The Wire” debating everyone in his inner circle over how late at night it’s acceptable to call someone on the phone. He insists “cut-off time” is 10:30, but Cheryl claims it’s 10. When he tries to call Julia Louis-Dreyfus at 9:50, Cheryl warns him that he’s too close to the cut-off, while he insists he’s “right in there.” Ultimately, it doesn’t matter either way, because an offended JLD insists that cut-off time is 9:30. This is why everyone just texts these days.

42. Someone stealing his newspaper

Season 5, Episode 7

A sex offender (played by Rob Corddry) moves into the neighborhood in this episode, but Larry’s far more concerned with figuring out which of his neighbors has been stealing his morning paper. He befriends the sex offender and invites him to a Passover seder; sex crimes, in his mind, are a lesser offense than newspaper theft.

41. People who ask you to watch their laptops in coffeeshops

Season 8, Episode 2

This one winds up serving as a commentary on racial stereotypes; when Larry agrees to watch a stranger’s laptop, the guy winds up taking too long, so he asks another man in the shop to watch it and leaves. The laptop disappears, and its owner can’t hide his dismay after learning Larry asked a Black man to watch it, before scrambling to self-correct. “What I was about to say was, ‘Why wouldn’t you give it to a Black person?” he says to a skeptical Larry. “In fact, that day, I had been looking for a Black person to leave my computer with. I didn’t see one, so I left it with you.”

40. The “bathroom trick” to avoid the check

Season 3, Episode 5

After Larry notices that a friend has made a habit of disappearing to the bathroom at the exact moment the check arrives every time they dine together, leaving him to foot the bill, he confronts him. “You think I don’t know about that bathroom trick?” he cries. “I invented that bathroom trick!”

39. Wobbly tables, cold coffee and soft scones

Season 10, Episode 1

This is sort of three separate grievances in one, but they all culminate in Larry and Leon getting kicked out of Mocha Joe’s, setting up Season 10’s main recurring storyline. After his complaints about wobbly tables, lukewarm coffee and too-soft scones fall on deaf ears at Mocha Joe’s, Larry decides to open up a “spite store” next door to steal his customers and exact his vengeance. Thus, Latte Larry’s is born.

38. Having a gross sandwich named after him

Season 5, Episode 1

In the Season 5 premiere, Larry finally gets a sandwich named after him at his favorite deli, but he’s crushed when he learns it’s not a particularly appealing one — onions, capers, whitefish, sable and cream cheese. He begs Ted Danson to switch sandwiches with him, but Ted refuses to budge.

37. Siren abuse

Season 10, Episode 10

“Siren abuse” becomes a recurring bit in the Season 10 finale after Larry spots an ambulance driver turning on his siren to bypass traffic and speed up his coffee run. Later on, he confronts some firefighters in Latte Larry’s about the practice, and they admit they’ve done it as well. Of course, his ire over this comes back to haunt him in the end, when — unbeknownst to him — his store catches fire and, assuming they’re abusing their sirens again, Larry cuts off the fire truck and refuses to let it through, causing Latte Larry’s to burn to the ground.

36. Airplane seat “encroachment”

Season 8, Episode 6

In which Larry annoys the woman seated next to him on an airplane by pushing her drink back over to her side of their shared armrest and declaring “encroachment.”

35. Chatty gate attendants

Season 9, Episode 5

We already know Larry’s feelings about small talk, so it makes sense that he’s annoyed by a gate attendant at his golf club who won’t stop talking to him every time he sees him. Eventually, he grows sick of the situation and asks to “hit the reset button” on their relationship, deploying the same tactic elsewhere in the episode with his mailwoman, who he went on an awkward date with.

34. Trick-or-treaters who don’t wear costumes

Season 2, Episode 3

If you’re not going to put in the effort, don’t show up to Larry’s house on Halloween. After two un-costumed teenagers show up at his door demanding candy, Larry turns them away. They retaliate by TP-ing his house and spray-painting “BALD ASSHOLE” on his door, something he tries to convince the cops should count as an anti-bald “hate crime.”

33. Someone borrowing his jacket without asking

Season 5, Episode 9

We’ve gotta side with Larry on this one. He’s shocked to discover that a friend went into his car and borrowed his jacket without asking — and when he discovers she also accidentally stained it, he gets even more pissed. (“How could I sit there freezing to death while she’s wearing my jacket?” he asks. “It’s not like there’s something wrong
with her and she’s got an illness where she really needs the jacket. She’s a perfectly healthy woman wearing my jacket, I’m freezing.”)

32. Saying “thank you for your service”

Season 9, Episode 5

In which Larry offends Sammi’s veteran fiancé Victor (played, hilariously, by Chet Hanks of all people) by not thanking him for his service, foolishly thinking that everyone else’s “thank you”s sufficed and that his would be overkill. Later, he inadvertently triggers Victor’s PTSD by bringing him to a Revolutionary War reenactment.

31. People who say “Happy New Year” after Jan. 4

Season 10, Episode 1

After he runs into an acquaintance at the gym in mid-January and she wishes him a happy New Year, Larry shrugs and tells her it’s a little late for that. “The statute of limitations has kind of run out on the New Year,” he explains. “Three days, plenty. By the way, everything doesn’t have to be happy. Why does everything have to be happy?”

30. Shrimp thieves

Season 2, Episode 4

This is one of many instances where Larry’s inability to let things go bites him in the ass. Here, he’s pitching a pilot starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus to HBO — this is pre-Veep — but he just has to call out the HBO executive for helping himself to some of the shrimp in his Chinese food after the two accidentally swapped orders. (“He saw it wasn’t his food, and he ate shrimp, and then he brought it back,” he asserts.) As you might have guessed, the show doesn’t get picked up.

29. People who hog all the cabinet space in a shared kitchen

Season 8, Episode 4

As the old adage goes, “if you give an inch, they’ll take a yard.” Larry learns that the hard way at his office when a guy who calls himself Big Dog (Harry Hamlin) asks for a cabinet in their building’s shared kitchen and soon takes over the majority of the space, much to our hero’s dismay.

28. Waiting for someone else’s food to arrive before you start eating

Season 2, Episode 5

After winning a lunch with Larry in a charity auction for the fictional “Groat’s disease,” this man is a good sport at first, putting up with Larry’s goofy questions about the illness and overall chattiness, but when it’s time to eat, it all goes to hell. Larry’s food arrives first, and he asks the guy if he minds if he starts eating, fully expecting him to say no. He’s shocked when the answer is yes, and the pair get into a shouting match over it.

27. People who say “LOL” instead of laughing

Season 8, Episode 3

This one technically isn’t one of Larry’s gripes, but he seems to be in agreement here. After noticing the ease with which Larry’s willing to confront people about their annoying behavior, people begin deploying him as a “social assassin” to handle their own petty grievances. One man asks him to confront his wife over her tendency to say “LOL” out loud instead of actually laughing, and Larry’s more than happy to oblige.

26. People who use smiley faces in texts

Season 8, Episode 4

This one seems a little antiquated now — it’s hard to imagine that this is pre-emoji — but Larry confronts a woman he’s seeing over the frequency with which she deploys smiley face emoticons in her text messages to him. It doesn’t go over well, and the fight culminates with her drawing a smiley face in sunblock on his forehead, resulting in him attending his assistant’s father’s funeral with a very unfortunately shaped sunburn.

25. People who smack their lips and say “ah” after taking a sip of a drink

Season 8, Episode 3

This is another of Larry’s “social assassin” missions; in this one, he confronts Susie at Sammi’s behest over her annoying habit of smacking her lips and loudly saying “ahh” after taking a sip of a drink. Her shoddy defense? “I’m enjoying it!”

24. Hugging people who have colds

Season 10, Episode 2

This one hits differently in a post-COVID world. Larry’s been a germaphobe long before any of us had reason to be concerned about a pandemic, and while the idea of hugging someone who’s sick seems insane now, we have to remember just how common it was pre-2020. After Laverne Cox (playing herself) tells him she has a cold, she introduces Larry onstage to give a speech at a charity event, and when she goes in for a hug, he recoils. Naturally, everyone assumes he’s being rude (and potentially transphobic) and begins pelting him with food.

23. Not enough cashews in a snack mix

Season 4, Episode 5

While starring in The Producers opposite David Schwimmer in Season 4, Larry learns that his costar’s father owns the company that makes his favorite cashew-and-raisin snack mix, and in rehearsal one day, he decides to lodge a complaint. The company’s been scrimping on the cashews, he claims, bringing a bag with him to demonstrate his concerns to the Friends star. “I would call it ‘raisins,’ and then let them be surprised by the cashews,” he says. “It’s better than being disappointed by buying something called cashew-raisins.”

22. Auto-Gratuity

Season 7, Episode 7

Proper tipping etiquette is a recurring theme throughout Curb Your Enthusiasm, and after noticing that the club he golfs at includes an 18% gratuity in their bill, Larry is fed up by being made to do math in his head to determine how much additional tip to leave, so he decides to protest the concept by not leaving any more than the included 18% — though he goes out of his way to insist to the waiter he’d happily pay more if they just didn’t make him calculate it. “Let ’em charge me 20%. Let ’em charge me 25%,” he says. “I’d rather be charged a 30% tip included than have to add up 18% to 20%, to 25%.”

21. “Save the dates”

Season 9, Episode 5

As Larry explains, “The whole system’s screwed up. You don’t need to send me something to tell me you’re gonna send me something, just send it. If I’m saying something to you, I don’t say to you, ‘I’m gonna say something to you,’ and then say it. I just say it.”

20. Upstairs neighbor stomping around at night

Season 8, Episode 10

An upstairs neighbor loudly stomping around their apartment at night while you’re trying to sleep would be annoying under normal circumstances, but when the neighbor is Michael J. Fox and he’s wearing special boots to keep his feet from cramping due to his Parkinson’s Disease, you cut him some slack. Unless, of course, you’re Larry David.

19. People who chew on pens after borrowing them from you

Season 7, Episode 9

Larry makes the mistake of lending Jason Alexander a pen to use during the table read for the Seinfeld reunion, and to his horror, the actor chews on it, sticks it in his ear and generally renders it completely disgusting. “It was in every orifice of your body,” Larry tells him before demanding he buy him a replacement pen. That sparks a whole new conflict when Jason buys him a different type of pen than the one he originally borrowed. “This pen is almost blind compared to my pen,” Larry complains after trying to make an “eye for an eye” comparison, prompting Jason to respond, “No, believe me, it sees the truth.”

18. Outfit-tracking

Season 9, Episode 10

After F. Murray Abraham makes a comment about Larry wearing the same pair of pants he wore yesterday, Larry doesn’t take kindly to the observation. “You’re an outfit tracker, Murray,” he responds. “Nobody likes an outfit tracker … I just feel like I’m living in some kind of clothing police state, like it’s 1984. Big Murray’s watching me.”

17. Being seated with ugly people at a restaurant

Season 10, Episode 7

While dining at a trendy Italian restaurant, Larry notices the people sitting in his section are much less attractive than the people seated near the window and, naturally, leaps to the conclusion that the place has an “ugly section.” He’s not so much mad about the concept of an ugly section as he is the fact that he’s been deemed ugly enough to sit there; he blames Jeff and Richard, his dining companions, and insists if he returned alone he’d be in the other section, before Richard hilariously hits back by telling him, “You look like Einstein’s gardener.”

16. Appetizer skewers

Season 4, Episode 2

After Larry takes an appetizer at Ben Stiller’s birthday party, he’s left holding the skewer and wondering what to do with it. (“If you see a skewer guy, will you send him over?” he asks at one point, and he keeps steering the conversation back to it throughout the episode. “You got this stick, what do you do?” he says later. “You put it
in your pocket? Stick yourself in the scrotum?”) Eventually, it comes back to haunt him, as he inadvertently pokes Stiller in the eye with it while demonstrating a golf swing.

15. Small talk

Season 8, Episode 6

“I’m trying to elevate small talk to medium talk,” Larry explains when he’s forced to sit next to a stranger at a dinner party, peppering in some personal questions like “How’s your marriage?” and “How often do you have sex?”

14. Poorly packaged takeout that spills all over the bag

Season 8, Episode 7

After the soup from his favorite Japanese restaurant spills all over the rest of his takeout order (“They didn’t secure the soup!” he laments), Larry goes over there to complain. “You’ve got to secure these bags,” he insists. “Secure the bags with tape, staples, however you’ve got to do it.” The manager apologizes to him with a bow, and Larry’s initially very impressed, until he sees another Asian person do a full 90-degree bow and becomes concerned that he received a “shit bow.”

Season 9, Episode 2

“The tong is not a friend of the cookie by any stretch of the imagination,” Larry explains to a very patient hotel employee. When said tongs accidentally fall on the floor and she puts them back on the table, all hell breaks loose. “That’s like eating off the floor, it’s the same thing!” a shocked Larry exclaims. “You might as well put the floor on the table. This is a disgrace!”

12. Saying “namaste”

Season 9, Episode 7

If you know the first thing about Larry, you know that yoga is an activity he seems predisposed to loathe. Naturally, when the instructor asks him to say “namaste,” he refuses, and when she tries to encourage him by explaining that “namaste means the light within me greets the light within you,” he responds with a great line that gets him kicked out of the class: “There is no light within me, that’s the only problem here.”

11. People who don’t coordinate tips

Season 7, Episode 3

When he and Jason split the check for their meal two ways, Larry asks him how much he’s leaving for the tip to make sure they leave the same amount “so one of us doesn’t look like an idiot.” Jason refuses to reveal how much he tipped, leading an incensed Larry to ask, “You don’t believe in tip coordination, is that it?”

10. Chair disparity

Season 9, Episode 4

Larry’s has had bad luck with therapists over the course of Curb‘s run, and Dr. Lionel Templeton (played by Bryan Cranston) is no exception. During one session, Larry becomes preoccupied with what he perceives to be an obvious difference in quality between the chair Templeton sits in and the one for his patients — “chair disparity,” as he puts it. “What was going through your head when you picked out this chair?” he demands. “You picked out a great chair for yourself, that’s a gorgeous chair.” When Templeton points out that it’s interesting that he’s the first and only patient to ever have an issue with the chair disparity, Larry counters, “I don’t find that interesting at all.”

9. People who travel in shorts

Season 7, Episode 4

“I’m comfortable in pajamas but I don’t wear pajamas on a plane,” Larry explains to his bare-legged seatmate. “I like to sing, I like to whistle, I like to play the bongos on my leg. I like to imitate horses. But I don’t do it, OK? ’Cause there’s somebody sitting next to me.”

8. People who don’t respect wood

Season 7, Episode 10

After Julia Louis-Dreyfus falsely accuses him of leaving a ring on her expensive coffee table, Larry vehemently denies responsibility, insisting that he “respects wood.” Determined to clear his good name, he launches an extensive investigation to find the offender before discovering, to his great horror, that it’s Cheryl who doesn’t respect wood, carelessly setting down her drinks sans coaster.

7. “A disturbance in the kitchen”

Season 9, Episode 3

While dining out with Jeff, Larry is told by an extremely withholding restaurant manager (played by Rich Fulcher) that their meals have been delayed due to “a disturbance in the kitchen.” That vague answer won’t cut it with Larry and Jeff, and they repeatedly try (and fail) to get the guy to reveal what the disturbance was. Eventually, an exasperated Larry wanders into the kitchen to demand answers from the chef — creating a disturbance in the kitchen of his own.

6. The stop-and-chat

Season 2, Episode 10

When you happen to run into someone you know on the street, the decision over whether to wave and keep walking or stop and chat with them is usually an awkward one. Thankfully, Larry David has clarified that the “stop-and-chat” should only be reserved for true friends. “He wanted to do a stop-and-chat, I didn’t want to do a stop-and-chat,” he explains matter-of-factly to Jeff after blowing off an acquaintance. “He wanted to stop and chat with me, and I don’t know him that well.”

5. People who are bad at parking

Season 8, Episode 5

“This is chaos,” Larry tells a guy who has just parked over the line. “Society can’t function like this.” The offending driver, whom Larry has dubbed a “pig parker,” has a suggestion for him: “Why don’t you stay confined within the lines of not being an asshole?”

4. People who take too many free samples

Season 6, Episode 3

It’s hilarious to watch an exasperated Larry react to every new flavor that the woman ahead of him in line at the frozen yogurt shop samples before accusing her of “sample abuse.” (“Banana?!” he theatrically exclaims. “Whoa. It might taste like, let me guess … a banana?”) The best part, however, comes at the end of the bit, when the woman ultimately decides to order plain vanilla.

3. People who eat all the caviar

Season 7, Episode 4

“We’re each entitled to take a certain amount so everybody else can have a little bit too. It feels like you’re going over,” Larry explains to Christian Slater after pointing out that he’s “really going to town” on the caviar at a party and reminding him that “we have unwritten laws in this society.” “What you should be doing here is you take a little bit, then you step away for 20 minutes, see what kind of action there is. If nobody’s taking any, maybe take a little bit more, step away again. So forth and so on.”

2. Having to wait in the buffet line when you’re going for seconds

Season 9, Episode 8

One of the funniest things about Larry David is just how fiercely devoted he is to trivial principles. When a man gets called out for trying to cut the buffet line to get seconds, Larry rushes to his defense. “Just a minute!” he declares indignantly. “The man is getting seconds! The man has already waited on this line. We’re all hungry. I’m hungry too. But to make him wait another 10 minutes for a few measly potatoes? Shame on you! Shame on all of you. That’s not how we do things here in America. We don’t wait for seconds!”

1. The “chat-and-cut”

Season 8, Episode 5

The “chat-and-cut” is a perfect encapsulation of everything we love about Curb. It’s a very real phenomenon, but it’s one that only Larry David would think to give a name, and of course he’s the only one sufficiently unconcerned with social norms to actually call someone out on it — and it’s so satisfying when he does. “First of all, congratulations on a great attempt at a chat-and-cut,” he tells the offender, who has “feign[ed] familiarity with a person she barely knows for the sole purpose of cutting in line.” “Really good. Ninety-nine times out of 100, that’s gonna work. Unfortunately, I happen to be on the line.”