I was booked one or more times on CYE from season 1 to season 7. My admiration for Larry David knows no bounds. His instinct for comedy is remarkable. Those of you who have watched any of the CYE episodes know what I’m referring to. Working with this genius is an exceptional experience.
I’m sure you know there is no script in the conventional sense. From what I’ve observed there is a general outline of the story for an episode. Naturally there has to be. How else can the production company prepare a location with all the contractual considerations involved in such an undertaking. But once the scene begins, the actors are on their own. From my experience, each portion of the scene is shot any number of different ways. Some basic back and forth begins between the actors. Then Larry or an associate producer will suggest a slightly different stream of dialogue. Little by little the scene builds until, generally, Larry David is satisfied. Conversely, a scene is not overly replayed to the point it loses it’s originality. In addition, two cameramen also are moving around freely with no obvious preset formula. Lighting is mostly available light when possible.
I’m only going to show a couple of excerpts from scenes in which I am recognizable. I will add more as I can find them.
This was the first time I was booked on this show. A very funny segment. The Baptism.
The guy in the water is being baptised to convert him from Jewish to Catholic so he can marry his sweetheart. Larry David sees him being pushed under the water and thinks he is being drowned. So he yells to stop and the minister let’s go of the man. The current picks the man up and drags him downstream. We all jump in to save him.
Then we all go to the lodge and they try to convince the man to get one more push underwater to complete the baptism but he refuses. So his fiancée starts cursing at Larry.
There are an equal number of Jews and Catholic guests for each of the couple. They get mad at each other and shout and curse as the scene ends.
We shot the water scenes at Castaic Lake in July with the heat over 100 degrees. That was fine with me. It made it a pleasure to dive in the water. Days earlier I had a fitting for 3 identical suits. We shot the diving scene exactly 3 times. Between shots we had to completely change to the next dry suit. Under the suit we wore a wetsuit. At the end of the day, Larry David gave each of us who dove in the water an additional $100 as a token of his appreciation.
To make it look like a river with current, a very powerful motor boat was anchored out of camera sight. Then the motor was run at top speed to cause a current around the man and the minister.
The Anonymous Episode:
The Bat Mitzvah:
This scene was shot in a very upscale ballroom in a seaside hotel in Santa Monica. We were booked for two days. What a pleasant taping. Imagine listening and dancing to John Legend, walking around on the boardwalk and sands of Santa Monica during lunch. I almost feel we should have paid CYE productions for this experience. 🙂 One other note of interest, there was no playback or lip synching while John Legend sang. It was live and regardless of the number of rehearsals and takes, I enjoyed each repetition of John Legend singing the same song. His vocals are so smooth it took me back to my high school dances with Dick Haymes and other 50s artists records. 🙂
My last booking was in season 7 when I got the chance to work with Leon. I had to kill the sound to keep this a family friendly blog. lol: