With a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm just around the corner, Larry David is sharing that he actually planned to end the acclaimed comedy series all the way back in 2005. The upcoming premiere of the 12th and final season of the iconic HBO series marks an impressive 24 years since the first episode aired. However, during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast this week, the Curb creator revealed that the show’s fifth season was supposed to be its last.
When Simmons asked how many times throughout the show’s lengthy run David thought, “That’s the last season, I’m not doing it,” the Seinfeld co-creator replied that there was one time when he thought for sure he was tapped out.
“That was season five after I died,” David explained, referring to the season finale in 2005 in which he decides to donate a kidney to Richard Lewis and briefly dies during the operation before coming back to life. “I died specifically to end the show. I died and went to heaven. I thought, I’m not going to do this again, so I died and went to heaven. I met Ben Hogan and he gave me some golf tips, and my mother. In fact, the title of the show was called ‘The End.’”
When Simmons pointed out that viewers might not have realized that the episode was David’s attempt to wrap up the show, David concurred that nobody knew at the time. Ultimately, the show returned for a sixth season in 2007 (thankfully, or else we never would have met JB Smoove’s scene-stealing Leon Black). “I missed it,” David said. “I love doing [the show]. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”
As highlighted earlier in the podcast episode, quitting—or at least contemplating quitting—his own shows is something of a pattern for David. The comedian famously left Seinfeld at the height of its popularity, but apparently, he had already made several attempts to leave the series over creative disputes with NBC.
“I quit the show a couple of times when they tried to interfere,” he told Simmons. The first time was before the blockbuster comedy series even began production, when NBC hired a producer to give notes on the first four episodes. Needless to say, David was unwilling to make any changes. Later, as the show grew in popularity, the network continued to try to offer creative input, much to David’s chagrin. He refused to make the changes and “from that point on, I never had any other problems at all,” he said. “I realized all you’ve got to do is say no.” David eventually left Seinfeld for good after season seven.
Now, he’s insisting that the upcoming 12th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm will be its last, despite doubts from fans who point to the unexpected return of the series in 2017 after a six-year hiatus. “This is it,” he told Simmons, brushing off suggestions of a spin-off series. “I think the cast in general felt like it was also time to end it.”
David’s comments on Simmons’ podcast echo what he told the press at the final season premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “I’m not lying. People think I’m lying—I’m not a liar,” he told The Hollywood Reporter of his claims that the show is ending. “OK yeah, 15 years ago I said it was the last season—that’s what I say when I don’t think I’m going to come up with another one. But, this is it.”
Whether David will stay true to his word remains to be seen, but for now, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s farewell season premieres on Sunday, Feb. 4 on HBO.