The October 25 episode of the HBO show, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” drew a sharp response from the Catholic League. The public, we are happy to report, quickly took our side. Not only did surveys reveal widespread support for our criticisms, there was strong support for the league’s position from across religious groups.
The show stars Larry David; he plays himself. David is the creator, writer and producer of “Seinfeld,” the popular comedy that dominated TV for years. In this particular episode, David urinates on a picture of Jesus. After it aired, Bill Donohue said that this “demonstrates that David’s best years are behind him. He ought to quit while he’s ahead.”
At one point in the show, David goes to the bathroom in a Catholic home and splatters urine on a picture of Jesus; he doesn’t clean it off. Then a Catholic woman goes to the bathroom, sees the picture and concludes that Jesus is crying. She then summons her equally stupid mother and the two of them fall to their knees in prayer. When David and Jerry Seinfeld (playing himself) are asked if they ever experienced a miracle, David answers, “every erection is a miracle.” That’s what passes for creativity these days.
Donohue asked: “Was Larry David always this crude? Would he think it comedic if someone urinated on a picture of his mother? This might be fun to watch, but since HBO only likes to dump on Catholics (it was just a couple of weeks ago that Sarah Silverman insulted Catholics on Bill Maher’s HBO show), and David is Jewish, we’ll never know.”
On “Fox and Friends,” Donohue went after all those who have declared open season on Catholics. He made it clear that this was not humor: “I have been dealing with this stuff for years. I’m just so sick and tired of it. There’s only one group they can bash with impunity.”
When asked by a New York newspaper why he didn’t see the humor in David’s stunt, Donohue replied, “Let him go and pee on the face of the president, and then let him explain to African-Americans that it was all in jest.”
By a margin of better than 2-1, the public said the Catholic League’s criticisms were right, rejecting the idea that the show was simply Larry David’s brand of humor. The largest Jewish and Muslim civil rights groups, the ADL and CAIR, also supported the Catholic League’s position.
Those who would like to complain should write to Bill Nelson, CEO, HBO, 1100 Avenue of Americas, NY, NY, 10036; or e-mail him at Bill.firstname.lastname@example.org