Journalist and author James Andrew Miller has been responsible for some of the best oral histories of the last two decades, including exhaustive tomes on SNL (Live From New York, An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live), ESPN (Those Guys Have All the Fun, Inside the World of ESPN) and CAA (Powerhouse, The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency). Miller has now pivoted his expertise into the podcast format by launching Origins, which aims to explore "the brave beginnings of the worlds of television, movies, sports, music, business, even human relationships to explain how greatness starts."

To launch the project, Miller immersed himself in the world of one of his favorite TV shows: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David's uproarious HBO comedy which is returning for its ninth season on October 1st. Miller spoke cast members including Ted Danson, Bob Einstein, Susie Essman, Cheryl Hines, Richard Lewis and JB Smoove, behind-the-scenes figures including former HBO CEO Chris Albrecht, producers Gavin Palone and Alan Zweibel, directors Larry Charles and Robert Weide, and even the usually reticent David himself.

We got the chance to do a deep Curb dive with Miller, talking about some of his favorite Curb moments and why he thinks the show has stayed so fresh and funny all these years later.

I wanted to start out by asking: were you a diehard Curb fan before you started researching the show? Oh yes. That was the reason why I choose it. I kind of felt a duty to explain at the very beginning why I choose Curb to be chapter one of Origins. It was because I was such a fan right from the beginning and I figured with the timing of its return, it was a nice way to start off the podcast series.

Larry usually seems so reticent to sit down and talk about his process or his work. How did you get him to open up? Were you familiar with him or anyone from the show before this? I felt very fortunate. I had interviewed him for the Saturday Night Live book and had such a great time. I really can't speak to why he said yes to me, but let's put it this way: I was thrilled.

What were some things that surprised you that you learned while researching the show? First of all, I think some people don't realize that there aren't scripts. And even though I had already known that there weren't scripts, I think going behind the curtain and hearing about the process that not only Larry has, but directors like Bob Weide and Larry Charles and all of the actors themselves have, I thought it was really, really interesting. It was fun for me to talk with them about it, because it wasn't like I was just hearing stuff I already knew. It turns out that each one of the cast members kind of has their own way preparing for things or not preparing for things, as the case may be. I thought that was great.

I also was really struck by some of the stories they said about their early connection with the show. Either with auditions or like the case with Ted Danson, the first time that he saw the show, when Larry showed him the pilot. So, there was a lot of stuff that even as an avid fan, I didn't know about before.

Ted Danson's pitying reaction to the special was hilarious. "Oh, we gotta help this poor guy out. He doesn't realize what he's gotten himself into." It was fantastic. The entire interview with Ted was just amazing. He is so smart and so funny. I felt really lucky.

I think my favorite interview may have been with Richard Lewis. Just to hear all of those stories about what they were like as kids [Editor's Note: David and Lewis went to summer camp together and were rivals] and how their real life relationship reflects the one that we see in the show. And how close it is to the real thing! Right. Well, that was one of the key questions that I had for several of the cast members. Because Richard Lewis is playing Richard Lewis. Bob Einstein plays a guy named Marty Funkhouser. And Susie Essman is playing Susie Green, but I think some people think it's still her. Same with Cheryl. I asked them, "How much of yourself do you let into the character, and where does the character stop and yourself begin?" I thought that was not only interesting, but hilarious to hear. Richard was just the best example of that.

You're releasing the individual interviews as Origins Originals [coming later this month here]. Was there a lot left on the cutting floor as you were editing the podcast? Well, my interview with Richard was almost like an hour. The Richard Lewis interview is just delicious. You can see in that interview why he's had the career that he's had.

I mean, Bob Einstein at one point was like, "let me tell you a joke." It had nothing to do with Curb. So while it was heartbreaking to edit those out of the actual episodes, one of the things I always wanted to do with this Origins series was to have a duality to it. Not only did you hear the narrative that I put together about the origins of the show and these people, but then you got to hear the raw interviews that all of that came from a couple weeks later.

Since you are a Curb connoisseur at this point, do you think that Larry is right more often than not on the show, in terms of his etiquette complaints and such things? This is something that I have arguments with my friends about. Well, there are two different types of complaints, if you really want to get into it. Larry is kind of our subconscious, right? When somebody parks in the middle of two spots and he's looking at the guy like, "Wait a second, what the heck is going on?" We love him for that. And you'd have to be an idiot not to agree with the fact that that shouldn't be done. Most people don't have the gumption to call the guy out on it, though, like Larry does. He's always going to do it. I think with those kinds of things, he's almost heroic.

There are other things that Larry kind of gets into, the minutia of Larry's world. Even though [his point] makes sense, sometimes you just do it because you're practicing adults and that's just so much a convention. The easy one is a house tour. You know, they're your friends, they moved into a new house. They want to show off the house. In fact, Jeff said it to him in a later scene: "You know, you could've taken the tour." I think it's so funny though, because Larry punishes himself in a way in that episode. Because, Krazee-Eyez Killa asks if he wants a tour and he goes on the tour and he goes, "Well, this is a floor. And, this is wood." He showed how inane it is, but he still tried to redeem himself.

Do you have any favorite Curb storylines or seasons in particular? It's funny, I get asked that a lot. For me, there's so many. But, I think that there are certain episodes that you almost feel like Larry and the gang have taken a level jump. I think "Krazee-Eyez Killa" is definitely one of those. It's just so brilliantly put together. Much like Seinfeld, you could see the intricate plotting and then things come together at the end. It was just fantastic.

"Palestinian Chicken" should go in the Smithsonian or a time capsule. If 500 years from now, somebody wants to understand how crazy we were, just show them "Palestinian Chicken," because it's so ridiculous. I guess also ["Funkhouser's Crazy Sister"], because I love Catherine O'Hara, when she came back and played Marty's crazy sister Bam Bam. It's just so wrong.

That's one of the things—well, you're a fan. I don't have to tell you this. But I think that's one of the great paradoxes of the show, right? Because, we're laughing at so many things that are wrong, but at the same time, maybe we're just all drowning in this politically correct world that we have to live in now, or that we try and live in. And Larry is constantly popping those balloons. It's kind of like we're also enjoying the freedom that he has to go through his days unencumbered by what society expects from him. I would say adding Leon along for the ride is just the whip cream on top of the icing on top of the cake.

From the first episode that he was on, their dynamic was just so electric and hilarious. That's why I loved the way J.B. [Smoove] talked about it. Because it was really from moment one, and that doesn't happen a lot. I really didn't know the nature of their spark. So many times in television characters have a learning curve or a journey to get to that kind of place. With Larry and Leon, they had it at hello.

J.B.'s story [about auditioning for Curb], that whole story, it's crazy. He's just lovely.

Leon was introduced in season six. "Palestinian Chicken," which I agree is definitely one of the all-time greats, was season eight. What is it about Curb that it still feels so fresh eight or nine seasons in? What is it that keeps it from getting stale or feeling formulaic? It's a great question and I've thought a lot about it myself. In some ways, there's an even bigger question, because it's not just eight seasons, it's 17 years! We've known shows that have gone eight years or whatever in a row and that question's still valid. But, here, the show disappears and then it comes back. We think it's gone, and then it comes back. People thought it was totally gone and now it's coming back.

I think it's an even larger question. I guess the answer is on several levels. One is what we were just talking about, which is just the joy that we find in Larry going through this world. I can't tell you how many times I've shown this show to somebody and they said, "Boy, I wish I could do that" or "I wish I could say that".

I think the second part is, it's really funny. The bar is high and they seem to exceed our expectations 90% of the time. There are some episodes that I didn't love as much others, but every single episode is something that I would watch again.

I think that we genuinely like these people. Here's another paradox: think about the fact that none of us would probably want to be married to Susie Green, but at the same time, we just can't get enough of her when she's on the screen. The other episode which I was going to say is one of my favorites was "The Doll." It's so good and it's so beautifully woven together. And she is just a chutzpah tour de force there, and it's remarkable. I think we love hanging out with these people. I think as a result, certainly that was what went on with Seinfeld. The four of them can be downright bratty to each other and it wasn't like they were running around hugging each other all the time. And yet, at the same time, we just loved being with them.

I think that probably explains a lot of it. The last thing that I would offer is I don't think people appreciate just how masterful a storyteller Larry David is. Because, while improv is at the heart of the show, one of the things that I wanted to do with the podcast is to show just how detailed Larry storytelling skills are. There are signposts that they have to meet along the way. And those signposts are the result of Larry and other writers doing a lot of story work. I think it's sometimes easy just to forget that. But as he did with Seinfeld, he is really one of the best comedic architects and storytellers to bring together a narrative that I think we've ever seen.

We are entering the ninth season of Curb, which means we are now at a point where there will be as many seasons of Curb as there were of Seinfeld in the 1990s. What do you think the legacy is going to be for Curb, and how are the two shows going to be compared in the future? It's interesting. I kind of got into that with Larry. Part of it is, he really can't equate the two, because he wasn't acting in Seinfeld. So that's a big difference for him and obviously, it's a big difference to consider when comparing the two.

They share the fact that they're obviously funny and that the storytelling—literally putting pieces out there and then bringing them all together at the end—is marvelous. I talked to Larry about some of the ways Curb changed over the years, and it did, there was more story, things got compressed a little bit. But I think Seinfeld probably had a much bigger learning curve.

If you look at the pilot and the first season, there was a greater journey from beginning to what it wound up being once it found its sea legs. Even in the mockumentary that started the whole thing off, I think Curb somehow found its way in that. By and large though, the show was pretty consistent right from the beginning. We don't see a lot of characters changing. We don't see a totally different way of people interacting or Larry's personality changing. Not that Seinfeld showed a lot of change, but I think the way that we followed the characters on Seinfeld in those early seasons was very different. Those scenes were really long and somewhat conventional. They started to get outside the box after the first couple years.

Do you have any inclination or plans to take the podcast and turn it into a book? Or do you want it just to live in podcast form? Some people have approached me about that. I'm kind of like, as they say, chewing on it. But I'm really pleased. The most important thing to me right now is, particularly given the fact that this was the first chapter of Origins, that people are enjoying it. My first responsibility was to make sure it worked as a podcast, that it thrived on this platform. Everything else, I can figure out afterwards.

Looking toward the future, what other guests and subjects do you have in mind for the podcast? And how often will it be dropping? Is this like a bi-yearly thing, every couple months, or more often than that? God bless you. Can you talk to my bosses at the podcast, because...No, the plan, as insanely ambitious as it is, is to do one a month.

Oh, wow. It's such a comprehensive thing. I know it must take a lot of time to put something like this together. Yes, I know. Please shoot me in the face. The good news is that I am picking topics that I love in all sorts of fields. Television, movies, music, sports, architecture, relationships, tech. I mean, there's going to be all sorts of different Origins stories.

The one thing that I realized early on is I have to love the topic. If I didn't love Curb, I would have needed to go into therapy or I would have jumped off a bridge. Because it is very time consuming and all-consuming. You kind of live it. Let's just say what lowers my blood pressure is the fact that all of these future ones that I'm working on I love as much. I'm working on several at a time, so as you might imagine, I'm in the process of figuring out what October is going to be in the next week or so.

I can't just like something. I've gotta love it. So in some ways the topics themselves are very personal choices of mine and you hope that there are people out there that agree with you. I'm not trying to sit down and figure out, "Okay, now what would be a good thing to just capture some attention." I have to either love it or be fascinated by it. Those are the two rules.

Wrapping up, do you foresee season nine as a one-off season? Or do you think Larry has been re-energized where we could get more Curb in the immediate future? That's the $1,000,000 question, right? I will say that I asked a bunch of people that are involved in the show, and almost all of them thought that in general it was a great season. I think probably a handful of them said they think it's the best season yet and they hope he's going to come back for 10. For people like us, that's good news.

(This interview was edited for clarity and length)