Pandemic Nixed “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-Themed Pop-Up Shop

The logistical perils of finding Purell in early March

Latte Lary's mug
Fictional coffee shop, real mug.

In the early days of the pandemic — back when the idea that the pandemic might still be a major issue as summer winds down was the stuff of nightmares and not a normal occurrence — an essay ran at Vice that neatly summarized the allure of a fictional coffee shop.

“[A]s Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s tenth season wraps up this month, there is one pop-up I find myself longing for more than anything else,” wrote Nate Rogers at Vice. “Folks, I want to escape from the real world to Latte Larry’s.”

Latte Larry’s was the focus of a subplot in the show’s most recent season, where Larry opened a coffee shop to spite a nearby coffee shop that had offended him.

As it turns out, though, we were a lot closer to a real-life Latte Larry’s than most people thought. A new report at IndieWire by Ryan Lattanzio notes that HBO had originally planned to create a pop-up Latte Larry’s to promote the season, only to cancel those plans due to the pandemic.

More specifically, the plans were canceled due to a pandemic-related Purell shortage. The article quotes Curb Your Enthusiasm season 10 showrunner Jeff Schaffer, who said that plans for a pop-up shop were scuttled due to an inability to replicate a crucial detail of the fictional shop: Purell bottles on every table. Demand for Purell by early March made it impossible to buy the hand sanitizer in bulk.

“We were like, we’ll get bottles and just make the decal and slap it on,” Schaffer recalled, “and then I’m like, ‘Oh my god, everyone’s going to steal this Purell thinking it’s actually going to work. And it’s just going to get them sick.’” That might be a plot twist too bleak even for Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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