Curb Your Enthusiasm will welcome a slew of famous faces for its upcoming ninth season.
Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Jimmy Kimmel, Ed Begley, Jr., Carrie Brownstein, Lauren Graham, Nick Offerman, Nasim Pedrad, Elizabeth Perkins, June Diane Raphael and Judge Judy herself, Judith Sheindlin, who appears as her TV alter-ego, are among those set to appear in the new season of the returning HBO comedy. The pay cabler made the announcement Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
Additionally, HBO confirmed that longtime star Cheryl Hines, as well as fan-favorite recurring guests Richard Lewis, Bob Einstein, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, will return for the highly anticipated revival. They join fellow returning castmembers Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and JB Smoove.
Behind the scenes, executive producer and director Jeff Schaffer will be joined by fellow directors Larry Charles, Robert B. Weide, Jessie Nelson and Bryan Gordon. In addition to Schaffer, David and Garlin also serve as exec producers on the upcoming ten-episode ninth season of the critically acclaimed comedy.
David, along with Essman, Garlin, Smoove and Schaffer, appeared at the end of HBO's TCA session to discuss bringing back the series six years after the season eight finale. "We're doing a lot of different stuff," David said facetiously at the start, setting the tone for the rest of the panel.
When asked why he decided to do another season, the famed Seinfeld co-creator offered up a more sincere answer. "I'm not a misser. I don't really miss things, people that much, but I was missing it and i was missing these idiots so I thought, 'Yeah, what the hell? And I got tired of people asking is the show coming back? I couldn’t get asked that question anymore and I wasn’t ready to say no, never."
Despite the long hiatus, David has kept adding to his notebook of ideas in the years since the 2011 finale. "It wasn’t like you stopped with your little notebook," Schaffer said. "It was just a question of where those ideas were going to go."
Because David had been writing down ideas for so many years, "the shows are filled. I think there's a ton, a ton of stories this year. You had a bit of a reservoir, Schaffer said. "The shows are chock-full. They're dense. … Just a lot of stuff to get out."
Schaffer further elaborated: "The amount of uncomfortable situations he's been in these last six years... it's like we're sitting in the Fort Knox of awkward."
While much of the cast were able to slip right back into their old characters, David revealed he had some issues. "I had trouble the first take and I thought, 'Jeez, I thought, 'I lost it. How am I going to do this?'" he said.
It also didn't help that filming on season nine began on Nov. 9, i.e. the day of Hillary Clinton's shocking loss to Donald Trump in the presidential election. "The first day on the set, I could tell Larry had a little jitter. He's always white but he was more white that first day on set," Smoove recalled. "One take and this man was back to golden. It was like playing t-ball. He sets you up so well, you can't go wrong."
As the impressive guest cast list indicates, Schaffer said production had no issue landing their dream talent list. "Everybody that we hoped for and that we wanted, we got," he said. "We had written some episodes that were really dependent on some very key people and we wrote them before we had them. ... It ended up working out great."
As for how Curb landed Judge Judy herself, David said it was fairly. "Judge Judy actually is in my ex-wife's family so i knew her," he explained.While David and the team were mostly tight-lipped on spoilers -- "nothing I want to talk about," David curtly replied when asked what's ahead -- the team did offer a few tidbits on the upcoming season.
"You're going to find out very quickly when the show starts what' he's been up to the for last five years and what everyone has been up to for the last five years," Schaffer said. "Once the show starts to air, it will be self-evident.
He continued: "It goes to this really strange, fun, crazy place and then you'll never expect where it ends."
In keeping with the spirit of the rest of the panel, Garlin added on to Schaffer's tease. "It really thematically follows Pirates of the Caribbean," he joked. "It's more like the last one than the first few."
Season nine of Curb Your Enthusiasm premieres Sunday, Oct. 1, at 10 p.m.