“It used to be that people thought I was Norm from ‘Cheers.’ Ten years ago everyone would say that to me. Then, in the last year, I was at a newsstand in Studio City, and I saw George Wendt. He said he had just gone on an audition, and they said they were looking for a Jeff Garlin type.“
Replacement refs! Presidential debates! Seasonal allergies! Christmas creep in retail stores! I don’t know about you, but I could use a drink, a good laugh or both. Luckily for us, we can soon do both. Just in time to help stave off those pre-holiday crazies is a comedian we all know and love. Heck, even if you don’t know him, you’ve heard of him. And no, it’s not Norm from “Cheers.”In October, The Stateside at The Paramount and Moontower Comedy present Jeff Garlin in his one-man show, “Built for Comfort.”
Now don’t you dare tell me you don’t know who Garlin is. For the uninitiated: yes, he used to be a big guy (re made great strides in reducing his waistline a couple of years ago), but he’s still kind of a big deal. Beginning his comedic career with Second City in Chicago, Jeff has been quietly popping up in television and movies everywhere over the past decade. Well, quiet except for the uproarious laughter he brings out of you.
In addition to being a comedian/writer/actor/producer/author/director/jack-of-all-trades-entertainer, Jeff also is a voice actor. If you have been in the company of little ones watching recent animated work, you may know him from the recent PARANORMAN. If not, chances are you recognize his voice from his work in recent Pixar movies such as CARS 2 or TOY STORY 3. Also, he had a very memorable turn as the captain who embodies both the weakness of the flesh yet the strength of the human heart in WALL-E.
Or perhaps you’ve seen him on television flexing his comedic muscle in “Mad About You,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and “Arrested Development” among many others.
I imagine most of you, however, know Jeff from his work in one of the best TV comedies of the past decade: HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The series chronicles the pedantic culture of “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David and the pratfalls of his day to day life. Over the course of eight brilliant seasons, Garlin has produced the show and also starred as Larry’s ever loyal but childish manager Jeff Greene. Together, Larry and Jeff are like the Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn of adult idiocy.
As Greene, Jeff constantly finds himself in tough situations (always of his own creation), and inevitably pays for it at the hands of his wife Susie (played by Susie Essman). She pulls no punches when admonishing both Jeff and Larry with a double-barrelled blast of obscenities. Heck, she lets F-Bombs fly aloft like an old-school arcade game of Missile Command.
Jeff has had too many golden moments here over the years to mention, and also has a variety of catch phrases that I must confess I have adopted myself over the years. My favorite? A euphemism Greene often speaks on the show deploring a particular action as “a big bowl of wrong.”
I’ve been an avid watcher of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” since day one, and the antics of Larry and Jeff never cease to amuse me. For me, nothing has been better than the one time when Jeff is usurped as head of the household by the family dog because of pet allergens. It’s hilarious and… well… take a look for yourself.
There’s a certain devilish charm to watching Jeff clumsily carouse through his life as a overgrown child, and these men behaving badly only work because of the genius of their performance and the charm of their bone-headed scheming. After several seasons, the characters feel like old friends, and we always wait with baited breath to see exactly what kind of trouble these morons will get into next.
See? I told you you knew who Jeff Garlin was. We all know him, even if previously didn’t know what his name was. In a world of ever-changing comedic talents, Garlin is no longer someone who flies under the radar. With the wide variety of projects he has tackled, Jeff is more than just an unknown supporting player. He is, if you pardon the pun, the new norm.
But not that one.
Who knows what kind of funny he’ll bring to the Stateside stage? Well, actually you will. Isn’t that right? Because missing this would be a big bowl of wrong.
Jeff Garlin takes the stage at The Stateside on Saturday, October 13, at 7:00 p.m. And thanks to people like you, he’s gonna be where everybody knows his name…