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Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The Applause-O-Gram"

 

Here's my little idea for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's based in part on a true story that happened to my big brother, and also in part on Terry Gilliam's "Brazil".

The Applause-O-Gram

Cheryl gets a call from a man with a thick Indian accent, "Mr. Billy", asking for “Mr. Larry”. Larry's not home, but Mr. Billy has an important message for him: Larry David has been awarded an Applause-O-Gram at St. Matthews Hospital. Cheryl assumes it is because of what an exemplary patient Larry was when he donated his kidney to Richard Lewis, at least according to Larry's appraisal.

When Larry gets home he finds Cheryl and Wanda quietly having coffee at the kitchen table. Cheryl relays the message to call the hospital about the big news, though she seems oddly subdued. Just as Larry's about to call the hospital, the phone rings. It's Jeff, who is all upset and has some seriously unsettling news. Larry braces himself for the worst, as Jeff tells him that it seems their new cat has cancer, and will probably have to be put to sleep, and that Sammy has been crying and crying day and night, he can barely get any sleep, and so has to cancel their golf game tomorrow. At this, Larry gets pissed off, since he was prepared for some genuinely terrible news: "Are you fucking kidding me!? Big fucking deal!", and, then, mockingly "Oh my poor pussy! My poor pussy has cancer! I've got pussy cancer! I've got cancer of the pussy!" He tells Jeff to call back when he has something of genuine substance to say.

Cheryl and Wanda suddenly shoot shocked glares at Larry, and Wanda quickly picks up and says she's leaving. Cheryl is furious at Larry. How could he say such things about such a sensitive issue, be so flippant! Wanda had just come from the doctor, who observed some irregularities, and advised her to come in and be tested for ovarian cancer. She had sought out Cheryl as a friend to confide in. Larry's attempts to explain the situation fall on deaf ears, of course.

At any rate, over the next several days, Larry has a few phone conversations with Mr. Billy, who continues to call him “Mr. Larry”, prepping him about the award ceremony etc. At one point, Larry thanks "Bill", but is politely told that really, he prefers if Larry call him "Mr. Billy". Still, Larry gets such a big kick out of the fact that he's being called “Mr. Larry” in that thick subservient accent that he starts to use the name around town with his friends: "No, that's Mr. Larry to you, haha!!"

Meanwhile, Larry asks Cheryl about Wanda's situation. Fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm, though the doctor did recommend she get a bit more exercise, and so she has been attending Cheryl and Susie's yoga class.

When Larry and Cheryl arrive at St. Matthews to receive the Applause-O-Gram, Mr. Billy is thrilled to meet them, and discusses with Larry what will happen at the ceremony. He still calls Larry “Mr. Larry”, which by now feels a little bit strange since, at Larry's insistence, he and Cheryl have incorporated the name into their sex play, Cheryl reluctantly pretending to be an Indian servant to the British Larry during the Raj.

The hospital's “event room” is already packed with Larry’s friends, who give him a big hello. Mr. Billy now says he has a big surprise for Larry, as they begin walking towards a sickly elderly woman asleep in a wheelchair on the dais. Mr. Billy explains that, as Mr. Larry of course knows, she had been placed in an induced coma some time ago, but unknown to Larry is that, before being put under, she absolutely insisted on expending some of her very last energies composing the epistle that earned Mr. Larry his Applause-O-Gram. Mr. Billy’s last and biggest surprise for Larry: her doctors have agreed to take her out of the coma for the awards ceremony, and no doubt she will be absolutely thrilled to have this chance to say goodbye and thank you to you, Mr. Larry, for your selfless care and attention to her. Of course, Larry does not know this woman at all, and it finally dawns on him that this has all been a big misunderstanding. “Oh, please, no, she looks so peaceful sleeping there. Please, I insist let her just relax and enjoy her beautiful dreams, really, I insist…”

Mr. Billy won’t hear of it, and gently shakes the old woman’s arm. “Mrs. Katz? Mrs. Katz? I have a wonderful surprise for you!” Mrs. Katz slowly awakens from her sleep and sees Larry standing there. “Hello, do I know you?” She asks. Everyone is looking on now, and Larry, increasingly panicked, says she must be confused by all the excitement. Mr. Billy says, "Oh, Mrs. Katz, here's Mr. Larry! He came to see you!". Larry is struck dumb. She squints at him. “You’re not Mr. Larry!” Mr. Billy looks at Larry suspiciously and asks, “Wait a minute, aren’t you on the staff here?” And everyone starts asking Larry what the hell he's trying to pull.

An African-American hospital staff member, who is just getting off a double shift, happens to be walking by the event room, and comes in to see what all the scuffle is about. Mrs. Katz sees him and says "There's Mr. Larry! Hello David my wonderful nurse!" and Wanda becomes enraged at Larry all over again...

Larry’s friends, who have purchased $1000 tickets to attend the ceremony, become incensed at this charade, at Larry trying to pass himself off as some sort of hero. When Larry tries to explain that it must all be just an innocent misunderstanding, him being contacted rather than David Larry, that it was probably a clerical error, and that he just assumed Mr. Billy called him “Mr. Larry” out of (sarcastically, of course) respect for the "superior white man", and that really, he loves Indian food, and after all, what is this "Mr. Larry" and "Mr. Billy" shit anyway? "So you called me 'Mr. Larry' and I called you 'Bill' and and you get all in my face about it! what's up with that?"

"Pussy! Pussy!" Mr. Billy screams at Larry.

Larry is outraged, but Cheryl intervenes. "Oh, Larry, it means 'cat'! 'Cat' in Hindi!! We use a 'Billy' pose in our yoga class!"

Mr. Billy is appalled that Larry should think such racist things about Rajesh Billy, a Brahmin, such an educated man, head of fundraising and public relations at the hospital.

As things finally settle down a bit, Susie asks Mr. Billy what Mrs. Katz has been suffering from, the poor dear. “Oh it’s so tragic, he says,”Ovarian cancer.”

 

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