ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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‘Somebody had to do it’: Larry David attacks Elmo on morning show

Seinfeld co-creator apologizes after outburst; later tells interviewer Seth Meyers he was frustrated with puppet for ‘going on about mental health’

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

Larry David attacks Elmo on NBC's "The Today Show," February 1, 2024. (NBC screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Larry David attacks Elmo on NBC's "The Today Show," February 1, 2024. (NBC screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Jewish comedian Larry David turned heads on Thursday when he attacked beloved “Sesame Street” icon Elmo on an American morning show.

Elmo was being interviewed on NBC’s “The Today Show” about mental health after a post on X in which he wrote, “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” drew tens of thousands of replies from people conveying sadness, despair or venting about their issues to the red puppet.

David, who was on the set to promote the final season of his hit sitcom “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” walked into the frame at the end of the segment with Elmo, grabbed his face, and appeared to beat him, to the shock of hosts Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.

“Somebody had to do it,” David called out.

“Mr. Larry, Elmo liked you before,” the children’s character said, while his father, Louie, threatened to “sue him for assault.”

Guthrie admonished David, stating that he had “gone too far this time.”

When David sat down for his interview, Kotb and Guthrie urged him to give an apology “from the heart.”

“From where? What organ are you talking about?” he replied, before relenting and saying sorry.

“Elmo accepts your apology, Larry,” Elmo replied. Louie said: “That was very big of you.”

In an interview on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” later Thursday, host Seth Meyers confronted David on the incident.

“Yeah, I did it. Elmo was talking, I was waiting to be interviewed,” David said, and griped, in a high-pitched voice imitating Elmo, that the red puppet was “going on about mental health, and I had to listen to every word, and oh my God, I don’t think I can take another second of this.”

Returning to his regular voice, he continued: “And so I got off my chair, and I approached him, and I throttled him. I couldn’t take, it, and you know what, I would do it again.”

David’s particular blend of semi-autobiographical Jewish misanthrope humor has influenced much of television comedy since “Seinfeld,” the cultural watershed sitcom he co-created with Jerry Seinfeld, debuted in 1989. After that series went off the air, David went solo to premiere the heavily improvised “Curb” in 2000, taking a series of extended hiatuses but always returning to his kvetching alter ego.

The twelfth and final season of the acclaimed series premieres on February 4 on MAX.

JTA contributed to this report.

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