Larry David on Broadway Theater, ‘Seinfeld’ and Death Etiquette in Sunday’s New York Times Arts & Leisure section provided some interesting thoughts on how people react to death.
David was a major force behind the “Seinfeld” television program and stars in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He has written and is starring in his Broadway comedy “Fish in the Dark.” He plays the son of a family patriarch on his deathbed. Here is part of the Q&A with David, conducted by Jason Zinoman.
This play is about a man dying. What’s funny about that?
It’s so serious. Solemnity is funny. It changes people’s behavior. You’re forced to talk a certain way, act a certain way. You’re not yourself. You can’t walk into a room where’s someone’s relative died and go [loud, gregarious voice] “Hey, how’s it going?” You have to go [serious, low voice], “How’s it going?” You have to act.
That’s exactly it. There is etiquette, the death etiquette.
There’s dispute in the play over the quality of eulogies. What makes a bad eulogy?
A bad eulogy is one that doesn’t move you at all, that’s not funny or touching. You have to be touched by a good eulogy.
Do you ever think how you want your own funeral?
I don’t want it to be touching. Let them tell funny stories, if there are any.
How does the challenge of a eulogy compare with that of a wedding toast?
I hate to make a toast. I can’t do it. I freeze up, because I feel like the expectation is for me to be really funny. And I choke under pressure. I’m a choker. I don’t rise to the occasion.
Sounds like Larry David could use a stint in Toastmasters International! But seriously, this comedy sounds like something I’d like to go see.