The Hamlet Challenge Entry no 3: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David as Max Bialystock in the fictional production of The Producers

Entry no 3 in the Hamlet challenge comes from an unlikely place if there is such a thing: the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. In the episode Opening Night, Larry David goes to New York to start performances as Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers. In the first scene of the Producers, Max Bialystock has just opened Funny Boy!, a musical version of Hamlet, the show is panned by the critics and it is closing just as it has opened. Max Bialystock laments his past glories as a legendary Broadway producer.

The real deal: David Tennant and Penny Downie in Hamlet, RSC 2008. Photograph Ellie Kurtz


The entry might not be profound, but its meta implications are delicious: a real person (in a fictional version of himself) plays a part in a real play (if not a real production) whose plot involves a fictional musical version of Hamlet. Which is a real play. The question remains (and it’s not “To be or not to be”): Is Larry David’s performance real or fictional? And although Funny Boy! is not a real musical, Hamlet the musical exists.

For the first entry and explanation to the Hamlet challenge visit the Hamlet Challenge Entry No 1:  Tis Pity She’s a Whore by Cheek by Jowl.

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