How does Salman Rushdie feel about his true story inspiring the newest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm? In the words of Larry David: "Prettay, prettay good."
After a six-year hiatus, the HBO comedy returned with its ninth-season premiere Sunday. To fill in the missing time, Curb revealed that TV Larry David (the creator plays an exaggerated version of himself) has spent the last few years writing a musical based on Salman Rushdie's life titled Fatwa! In 1988, the author's novel The Satanic Verses became so controversial in the Muslim community that death threats were issued against Rushdie, including a fatwa calling for his assassination from the then-leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"They did run it by me," the author confirmed of David and the Curb team during a Tuesday appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers. He then added with a laugh, "I don't think they would have not done it if I had said no."
On Curb, Larry goes onto Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote the musical and, without totally spoiling a major event from the premiere, it's safe to say that his impression of the Ayatollah does not go over well. The repercussions of Larry's broadcast appearance will continue to play out as the rest of the 10-episode season unfolds. "It permeates the entire season, but not in ways you’d expect," executive producer Jeff Schaffer told The Hollywood Reporter of the fatwa being more than just a one-episode gag.
For Curb viewers who are looking for clues as to what's in store for Larry, they can take a look back at what Rushdie went through in the years following. Now, the author says he is enjoying that people are finally reading his book without the controversy looming over its pages, and that they are finding the comedy that was intended within the story.
"It's one of the weird things that happened to me," Rushdie said to Meyers. "Because the attack was not funny, it was assumed that the book couldn't be funny. And because the attack was kind of weird and incomprehensible and foreign and theological, it was assumed that the book would be weird and incomprehensible and theological. Somehow, I acquired the characteristics of the attack against me and I have had to sort of get out from under that cloud."
By Curb reviving his story in pop culture, he continues to feel that liberated feeling.
"In a funny way, Curb Your Enthusiasm making jokes about it is kind of cool because it diffuses it," he added.
His advice for David? "I would avoid [the fatwa] if possible." Find out if those words of wisdom are too little, too late with THR's premiere story here and watch Rushdie's late-night visit below.