“I disliked him intensely. He was cocky, he was arrogant,” Lewis, 76, said to The Spectator in an interview published on Saturday, August 26. “When we played baseball I tried to hit him with the ball: we were arch-rivals. I couldn’t wait for the camp to be over just to get away from Larry.”
Lewis explained that he and David, 76, attended the same summer sports camp when they were 12 years old. While Lewis shared that he wasn’t fond of David, he was “sure” the Seinfeld alum felt the same way about him.
After leaving summer camp, the pair parted ways and were not reunited until more than a decade later in New York City as they both began their standup careers. At first, neither one recognized the other until it all clicked while Lewis and David were having a drink.
“I looked at his face and I said, ‘There’s something about you, man, that spooks me.’ Just saying that spooks everyone!” he described the duo’s sudden realization. “‘You’re Richard Lewis!’ ‘You’re Larry David!’… I was yelling at him, he was yelling at me.”
Following the moment, the men’s former feud blossomed into a friendship — and Lewis wouldn’t have it any other way.
“In truth, [David] loves me and I’m his dearest friend,” Lewis shared. “But it would be rare for him to go deep like that. I could blabber about how much I love the guy. In one of my favorite lines from Curb, I told him that I cared about him and he said, ‘You’re a babbling brook of bulls–t.’”
Lewis joined Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2000 when the show started. Lewis plays a fictionalized version of himself alongside David. On the show, the twosome play friends who bicker like an old married couple.
“He knows the buttons I have emotionally. When he teases me on his show it’s exactly what he’ll do in real life,” Lewis recalled. “It’s no secret he’s made a tremendous amount of money, which is great for him, but knowing that, I’ve always felt that if we go to a restaurant, I don’t like Larry to pick up the check. I can’t bear it, and I would say, ‘Oh, Mr. Big Shot, I can pay, I’ve had a decent career, you don’t have to pick up my check.’”
Lewis has made several appearances on the HBO series since it began. However, Lewis had to take a step back in 2021 after learning he had Parkinson’s disease, which led to him retiring completely from stand-up. After having a series of surgeries, Lewis revealed he would return to Curb Your Enthusiasm season 11 for one episode later that year and will appear in season 12.
Ahead of his return, Lewis revealed that David had checked with him to see if he was up for it.
“[Larry] came over and asked me if I could do the show. I said, ‘Yes, man, I don’t have tremors [though] my walking sometimes gets a little messed up’. So he said, ‘We’re cool,’” Lewis confessed. “They treated me like gold on the set, it was really beautiful.”