“The more uncomfortable he is, the more weird he is, the funnier he is,” she said.
The crew shot at an actual Dodgers game, and at one point, Whitley put her hand in her bra and threatened to take out her breast. “Larry looked at me, and I said, ‘I’ll pull it out right now,’” she said. “He laughed so hard that I started laughing too, and we had to cut.”
Surprisingly, the show’s unusual shooting format can work particularly well for nonactors. Sheindlin (Judge Judy) far preferred her improvised performance on “Curb” over her scripted one on “Saturday Night Live.”
“I didn’t sleep for days beforehand,” she said of her “S.N.L.” role. “What happens if they drop the [cue] card? What happens if it’s upside down? After I did ‘Saturday Night Live’ once, I said ‘that’s it.’”
Former Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who has appeared on “Gilmore Girls” and “Parks and Recreation,” also was less comfortable working with a script. “They kept saying, ‘No, do it this way, say it that way,’ and I had to do several takes,” she said. “Curb,” she added, “was one take only; the genius of what Larry did was just to say, ‘Act the way you would act if this was real life.’”
Guest stars aren’t left entirely up to their own devices. When Lucy Lawless came on to play David’s love interest, she said, Schaffer and the former “Curb” writer Alec Berg were off to the side, offering feedback in between takes. They would say, “‘Change that word to this,’” Lawless recalled. “‘And instead of saying you don’t like Ted Danson, this time play that you do. And ready — action!’”