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Larry David, Comedy & Shoes

Larry David is one of the most important figures in comedy history. He not only helped to create Seinfeld, arguably the most successful TV show ever, he also created Curb Your Enthusiasm. In addition to all his comedy contributions, Larry David is also an important part of sneaker culture rising in popularity during the 1990s.


In 1988, NBC asked Jerry Seinfeld to develop a sitcom. Seinfeld hooked up with his friend and fellow comedian, Larry David, and they started working on a unique, and alternate take on the American sitcom. In the 1980s, sitcoms were a major part of the culture. The situational comedy, filmed in front of a live studio audience, or accompanied by a laugh track, had certain conventions they would follow. 80’s sitcoms would traditionally focus on a family, like The Cosby Show, or a group of friends, Cheers. There was a formula that comedy shows in the 1980s followed.


Show About Nothing

David and Seinfeld wanted to do something different with their show. They didn’t want to focus on a family or make a show that focused on an extended family of friends. They wanted to make a show that was about nothing. A Show About Nothing.

Seinfeld, the show, was much like Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian, it centered on the mundane. Jerry played a comic on the show appropriately named Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry, along with his friends Elaine, George, and Kramer, would get into everyday adventures that weren’t usually the focus of TV shows. There are episodes of Seinfeld that focus on waiting for a table at a restaurant, not being able to find your car at a mall parking lot and the difficulties of dating. The stakes, especially in the early seasons of Seinfeld, were low.

The Show About Nothing concept took a while to click with audiences. But when it clicked, it clicked in a massive way. Seinfeld is one of the most successful television shows of all time. To this day, it is one of the most talked about and quoted comedies ever.

Seinfeld 1

Pretty Pretty Good

In 2000, Larry David launched his follow-up to Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show focused on an exaggerated version of Larry David and his personality. It was similar to Seinfeld in some respects, with Larry David playing himself, and its focus on ordinary issues at times. But it was a departure in some key areas.

For one, Curb Your Enthusiasm was a much more vulgar show than Seinfeld. This is partly because Seinfeld was shown on network TV, while Curb was on HBO. But also, David’s sense of humor was bluer than Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld was in no way a safe show, it definitely does have edgy moments and episodes, but it was a compromise between the sensibilities of David and Seinfeld.

Another big part of Curb Your Enthusiasm is the show is unscripted. It is almost 100% improvised. This is interesting because Seinfeld was praised for its script writing, which David and Seinfeld contributed to. But Curb’s improvised style of comedy helped the show feel fresh and different than other comedies on television.

Larry David did a great job of creating a sitcom that was similar to Seinfeld, but at the same time had a style completely of its own.

Curb Your Enthusiasm


Seinfeld is such a pop culture phenomenon that the shoes that Jerry wears on the show have become a part of pop culture lure. Seinfeld has simple taste when it comes to his fashion. He usually wore simple button up shirts, and traditional blue jeans. Seinfeld usually opted for white sneakers, which went perfectly with his fashion sense.

During the 90s, before sneaker culture truly exploded, Seinfeld was introducing millions of Americans to a wide variety of sneakers. The Nike Huarache, the Air Jordan series and the Nike Air Tech Challenge were some of the models you could see Seinfeld wearing in the 1990s.

Seinfeld helped to bring fashion forward sneakers to the mainstream. He gave Nike an audience that wasn’t tied to a sporting event. It’s common now to see sneakers everywhere, whether its television shows, or movies. But when Seinfeld was on the air, from 1989-1998, sneakers, worn by adults, on television, were rare.

Larry David is obviously a huge part of Seinfeld and his storytelling helped to establish the style Jerry showcases. The style is part New York, but also the way David and Seinfeld dressed in real life. George Costanza, who is an exaggerated version of David, wore Nike Cortez sneakers often. Behind the scenes shots showcase Larry David in Air Jordan and Nike sneakers on the set of Seinfeld.

david jordan


For Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David has worn almost exclusively “Simple” shoes. Simple is a small shoe brand that was founded in 1991 - close to around the same time Seinfeld debuted. Simple shoes are appropriately named, they are casual footwear, with a simple design.

Simple shoes perfectly fit the “character” Larry David is playing Curb Your Enthusiasm. David has continued to push forward the use of casual shoes in the pop culture spotlight.

Larry David

Sneaker culture has grown so much over the past 30 years. It’s common now to see running shoes and basketball shoes being paired with suits and casual wear. Larry David has helped to make the current trend popular with his embracement of sneakers on two of the biggest television shows of all time.


- Adam C. Better

Curb Your Enthusiasm simple