When J.B. Smoove’s career-defining character Leon Black was introduced on Curb Your Enthusiasm (which you can stream now on HBO Now) at the start of season six in 2007, he immediately endeared himself to fans of the show with his unconventional view of the world. Over the course of the last three seasons, he became a perfect foil for Larry, providing him with bizarre advice on a wide range of subjects. Leon himself would probably refer to his advice as wisdom, whereas I would describe it as a sort of confident ignorance.
Nevertheless, Leon would spend the next three seasons as Larry’s partner-in-crime, bringing a new perspective on how to handle some of life’s less-desirable social situations. Are you having trouble with people not taking you seriously? Maybe put on a pair of eyeglasses. Did some racist bigot get up in your face with a string of hateful expletives? Leon has you covered on how to handle that, too.
Here are the times when Leon Black taught Larry David, and the world, a valuable life lesson.
You Can’t Pause Toast
We start off with advice that I actually agree with. Stopping someone’s toast in the middle of a cycle, then starting it over, causes the toast to lose its essence. At that point, you’re having to deal with stopping the next cycle at the exact right time so that the bread is not toasted too lightly, or worse, burned. Nah, that’s too much hassle. You might as well pitch it and start all over.
You Flip The Script In A Job Interview By Asking Them Questions
This advice was actually thought up by Larry, but Leon added his own little twist on it by the end to a point where Larry began rethinking his entire original premise. The theory goes like this: You’re on a job interview, and the interviewer is asking questions. At a certain point, you switch it up and begin to ask them questions. In other words, you topsy-turvy that motherf*cker. “Enough about me,” you’d say to the hiring manager. “We all understand why I want this job. But I think it’s time you come clean on why you keep stealing your neighbors’ CDs after the UPS driver delivers them to their porch.”
You Gots To Bring ‘Da Ruckus
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but in Leon’s world, when Larry is confused over whether he delivered a middling performance in bed with a woman who’s in a wheelchair, or if her condition made it hard for her to feel, Leon simply isn’t entertaining the latter possibility. Simply put, he doesn’t believe Larry brought it. At least not in the way that he would have.
“I would have had her ass tap-dancing.” – Leon
A Relationship Can Only Exist If Both People Trust Each Other
Here, Larry finally realized he can trust Leon, because Leon had access to his most personal information all this time, but didn’t use it in a scandalous way. “The last four digits of your Social Security number are just the code to the house, switched around. And remember that time you gave me your ATM PIN to get gas? I still remember that sh*t, Larry. And your signature, anyone can forge that. But it’s important to know that despite me remembering all this information, I still haven’t ripped you off or stolen your identity yet.” See? Trust.
Sometimes, You Got To Get Up In That Ass
Despite being one of, if not the absolute greatest scene in the history of television, Leon’s advice was potentially quite dangerous. As Larry told it, he was in the doctor’s office when a skinhead looked over at him and said, “what are you looking at, Jew-Boy?” Larry, of course, punked out, as he should have.
The way I look at it, if someone is willing to use language like that in a public setting and direct it toward a complete stranger, there’s really no telling what else they’re capable of. Your best bet is to ignore it, then let those feelings bottle up inside until you develop an ulcer, like a normal person. Leon, on the other hand, has a different philosophy.
“You gotta get up in that ass. Pull their asshole open, step into their asshole, close the door behind you, take a spray paint can, and spray paint ‘Larry was here.’ ”
I dare you to get through that entire scene without developing a mental image of spray painting the inside of someone’s asshole. It may be impossible.