Comedians and Nature or The Young Men and the Lake
My idea of being an outdoorsman is pulling the shade up on my window. After a few glasses of wine, I may even open the window, but never all the way. Don’t get me wrong I like the sun, the grass, the ocean, the forests, fresh air and lakes—I love reading about them. See, all those years as a stand-up comedian, most of it was spent at night. The sun was just a warning signal that it was time to go to bed. There were exceptions; one, of course, was softball, and most of the others were traveling, or going out to buy thicker shades. There was a certain thick white shade we all bought, that if you wrapped yourself in it you could withstand a nuclear blast, well, at least not see it.
There is one other outdoor activity I love and that is fishing. On occasion I’d even touch the water while standing in the sun. A few comic friends would even come to New Jersey with me to fish in a lake near my hometown. I had found a great spot about a quarter mile hike through the woods. The pine trees would open up to a small U shaped cove that sloped gently into the water, which was clear and the ground beneath it smooth enough for you to wade in and cast. Every comic I brought with me, loved spending the daylight in nature and came home with a stringer full of fish—except for one. If you read my book Standup Guys or just looked at the blurbs on the back jacket, you probably know who it was. I’ll give you a hint, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld. I’m assuming by now you guessed it was Larry David.
That day though the sun was bright it was still light enough on its feet to keep the temperature mild. A perfect summer day until the LD karma found us. Even the usually refreshing hike into the woods,suddenly was fraught with aggravation. Bugs that were probably dormant for centuries clogged the air around us like someone was emptying a giant vacuum cleaner bag over us. The bugs, like everything else on earth, must have picked up on LD’s aura of provocation and attacked him like his presence alone was an insult to their species—even their slight buzz sounded like verbal jabs. LD, cursed, swatted and then stumbled away while fighting them off. They bugs followed for fifty yards before they retreated; not because Larry had over powered them with his world class anger. No, they handed the battle over to the bees whose territory LD had invaded.
The bees didn’t attack; instead they swarmed around him like a cocoon, but none were willing to give up their life to sting Larry. It was like they had seen him at the Improvisation and their goal were just to provoke him into doing something ridiculous. Which he did, he stated yelling at them and swinging his fishing pole like he was a blind Gladiator. Bees exploded away, then turned around charged again, like a thousand miniature Mighty Mouses. This went on for a several minutes, LD’s long anglo-afro swaying helplessly through the hoard. The bees bobbed and weaved until they finally had enough fun and left. By then LD was soaked in sweat and fury, calling out Mother Nature like she was heckling him.
We made it to the cove without further incident. LD had finally calmed down and even tentatively walked out into the water. I was prepared for him to be attacked by piranha, stumble in to a nest of water moccasins, or to be chopped in half by an alligator. What did happen was nothing. I mean nothing. Where I had caught hundreds of fish before, LD didn’t even get one bite. I kept catching fish. LD accused me of getting the best worms, and then decided that the good worms were avoiding his grip or his hooks weren’t worm friendly. It got to the point I even switched poles with him and I purposely would try and let fish take my bait. I swear several hooked themselves just to die seeing the expression on LD’s face. Our fishing ended when the sun finally gave way to LD’s karma and hid behind dark clouds that suddenly burst into rain.
We made it back to my parents house, wet, and sunburned with a half a stringer of fish. My mother cooked them and LD ate like he was taking revenge out on the fried fish, cursing them with every mouthful. By the time dinner was over, the sun had retired and we returned to New York. To be honest I’m not sure if what I have written is actually what happened. I do know that nature had its way with LD and added to the lore of Larry David. Oh, and I’m positive Larry definitely didn’t catch a fish.