Larry David Milks Asia-Jimmy Story for Laughs

By Karen

Watching the latest episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (Episode 11:7, “Irma Kostroski”) my jaw dropped when one of the story lines was the statutory rape accusation against Anthony Bourdain’s last girlfriend, which we learned about in August 2018, after his death in June.

If you’re not into Curb, here’s how it goes: It’s a sitcom starring Larry David playing himself as a curmudgeonly semi-retired TV writer/producer living in California. The show isn’t fully scripted. The actors know what’s supposed to happen, but ad lib much of the dialogue.

This season, Larry has been developing a sitcom based on his early life as a Jew in New York, casting an actor named Asa to play “Young Larry.” Asa is a pretentious jerk with many ridiculous demands for his character’s “authenticity.”

The thinly fictionalized Asia-Jimmy angle first comes up between the prop master Stan and Larry (I’ve cut lines that don’t add context)…

Stan: Larry, I can’t work with that kid [Asa]. He’s driving me nuts.

Larry: You know, like I told you, he’s a fucked up kid. He got sexually abused, I hear.

Stan: Oh, well, about that. I did my research. And it turns out, little Asa there, when he was a 17-year old kid, was “taken advantage of” by the beautiful 37-year-old Adriana Amante, the Italian actress. Fucking smokeshow, stunning.

Larry: That’s the trauma? I read about that.

Stan: Not only that, but he got 400 grand as a payoff. Formerly known as Andy. Were you as lucky at 17 to be taken advantage of by a supermodel?

Larry: Yeah, right. I was traumatized because I couldn’t have any sex at all.

Stan: Same here. I couldn’t fucking pay a woman to touch me.

Next scene, Larry confronts Asa…

Larry: You’re really giving Stan a hard time. You’re acting like kind of an asshole. There could be a justification for it, because I know how traumatized you were from that horrible incident you had when you were 17 and sexually abused by a beautiful, luscious, voluptuous Italian movie star.

Asa: You heard about that, huh?

Larry: Oh, my God, I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have —

Asa: It was so hard.

Larry: How did that work, exactly? Did she get you in a headlock?

Asa: It was a mental headlock.

Larry: All right, cut the shit, OK? You were 17 years old. If a cactus touched your penis, you would have been thrilled at that age, OK?

Asa: Ow, wow, wow. What if you were in high school and you slept with an older, famous actress? How would people treat you?

Larry: They would have named the high school after me.

Later, Larry lunching with the guys at his country club, and here the truth gets altered a bit…

Larry: So, it turns out he [Asa] did this movie when he was 17 and had sex in her trailer. He claimed that he was abused and got a $400,000 settlement. Now he’s playing the victim.

Larry’s friend Richard Lewis: It was the luckiest day of his life.

Larry’s roommate Leon: He’s ungrateful. This little motherfucker got a piece of ass, which is priceless. Then he got $400,000 on top of that shit? And the movie paid him. He got paid three fucking times and he’s still complaining.

Larry: Exactly.

Now it’s local Election Day and Larry encounters Asa outside the polls, where Asa makes a demand…

Larry: Get rid of Stan?

Asa: Yeah. He’s very difficult.

Larry: You know what? You’re driving him crazy.

Asa: I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to make art.

Larry: Yeah, well, he’s going to have a nervous breakdown, and it’s going to be real trauma, not like the fake trauma that you went through.

Asa: Oh, that’s where you’re going to go. It was real trauma. I suffered very… Hey, what are you doing, Larry?

Larry approaches a boy in line while Asa looks on…

Larry: Can I ask you a question? How old are you?

Boy: 18.

Larry: If a woman who looks like this (pulls up picture, presumably of the actress, on his phone, but not you-know-who) was interested in you, what would you say?

Boy: Yeah, I’d like that.

Larry: And what if she touched you down there?

Boy: Down there? Fuck, yeah.

Larry: And what if she invited you back to her apartment to have sex with her, and then she gave you $400,000?

Boy: Who wouldn’t take that?

Larry: Yeah, who wouldn’t take that? Thank you.

Boy: Is she here? When’s this happening?

Larry: Don’t be an idiot, no. Of course not.

By making the kid a schmuck and smearing compliments all over the actress with a thick knife, Larry David presumably is trying to avoid any backlash in the real world. But what I’m wondering is, what in hell made Larry think to exploit that still-unresolved situation as comedy fodder? And to go on and on about it? In the process, he essentially applauds the woman for committing statutory rape.

This Cats Working post from August 2018 provides details of what really happened, according to The New York Times, as well as subsequent posts as more information came to light.

And here’s a full recap of that Curb episode.

PS: Cats Working avoids using the woman in question’s full name because we don’t want to come up in her Google searches on herself or contribute to statistics on mentions of her.

7 Responses to Larry David Milks Asia-Jimmy Story for Laughs

  1. Mary Hunter says:

    Wow…. Really unbelievable. Maybe old Larr is getting early onset?? I’ve watched his shows over the years and they can be very enjoyable, if sometimes cringe-worthy because he’s such a jerk and doesn’t seem to mind portraying himself as such. This episode should have had at least some people involved in production saying whoaaa!! But maybe no one knew what it was based on? Hard to believe they didn’t. I don’t think I will have very kind feelings about him, and his show after this. Some things just aren’t funny.

  2. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    Haven’t seen the episode (and don’t want to). Of course, he’s allowed to use any subject for his series, and who knows what his real opinion is, as it’s part of an entertainment show.

    Having said that, it’s a weird choice of ‘scandal’ to reference in his show in that manner. If we just look at it separate from Bourdain (who doesn’t appear to be referenced in this context), I guess he maybe references his own teenage-fantasies of being seduced by an older, ‘glamorous’ woman (who knows?). He’s hardly known for being Mr. Sensitive, so he probably wouldn’t take into consideration whether or not it was traumatic for Jimmy Bennett or not. My main problem with this reference is more that this whole thing without a doubt was one of the factors that was eating away at Tony in the time leading up to taking his own life. There’s no question that having to pay for your girlfriend’s past sexual adventures must have affected him and thus must have been one factor, among others, in him growing increasingly desolate/or when it all came crashing down, it was yet another factor that ultimately weighed him down.

    So that this whole thing they’re referencing on Larry David’s show actually partly led to someone’s suicide is treated rather flippantly by David. But he might not be aware of those details?! I hope he isn’t, because otherwise it would indicate that he doesn’t care about that.

    I have only seen the first season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I thought it was funny and very well-written. It’s such a cringe it’s hard to watch but I guess that’s the whole point. I do wonder how much of it is his real personality. I guess, like many (all?) of those who make their living in the entertainment industries, at least part of their stage/public persona will be the real person and some of it will be exaggerated. Like Bourdain also. He got such a reputation among his fans for speaking the truth and being ‘real’. And I’m sure to some extent that’s true. And then to another extent, some of it was definitely staged and played to effect.

    I saw Larry David on Seinfeld’s show, Coffee in Cars With Comedians (I think that’s what it’s called). I actually didn’t like either of them in that episode. ‘Smug’ comes to mind. And that’s supposed to be the ‘real them’. Though they’re on camera so they must at the very least be aware of their image and how to present themselves, so who knows how ‘real’ it really is? But neither of them came across well. It was so embarrassing to watch how in love they were with themselves. But like I said, I did like what I saw of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David is clearly brilliant at observational comedy. I never liked Seinfeld much though. Maybe that show would have been better without the canned laughter.

    As for this episode. I definitely won’t watch that. Of all the subject matters in the world that he could have chosen, it’s an odd choice indeed. But then again, maybe he didn’t like Bourdain and maybe he has a hard-on for Argento???

  3. catsworking says:

    Mary and Glamour, what struck me most about the episode was how paper-tissue thinly veiled the situation was presented. They named the kid character “Asa” and gave the glamorous Italian actress the initials “AA”? Come on! Anybody who was aware of it KNEW what they were talking about. At least Larry David had the decency to leave Tony out of it.

    I think this whole situation has not been given the significance it probably had for Bourdain. All we have is the skank’s story. This was actively hanging over his head to the tune of $10K a month for another year and a half, had he lived. He paid Bennett a lump sum of $200K in April 2018 (I think), then $10K/mo. after that. So, May, June. I think Asia made the payment in July, then reneged. Bennett probably received $230K, give or take a month.

    At the time, no one knew about any of this. It was something she could use to blackmail Tony into doing whatever she wanted. At any time, she could have blabbed and exposed him as a hypocrite.

    Personally, I think the combination of her publicly humiliating with Hugo, and the rage/fear he must have felt at giving her long-term power to destroy the reputation for integrity he’d worked so hard to build , and possibly his relationship with CNN, was what flipped the switch.

    For David to use it for comedy was extremely tasteless. There was no need to make the details so recognizable.

    That said, I do enjoy the show. But I also enjoy watching Gordon Ramsay scream at inept cooks. I guess I’ve got a thing for assholes.

  4. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    ‘I think this whole situation has not been given the significance it probably had for Bourdain. All we have is the skank’s story. This was actively hanging over his head to the tune of $10K a month for another year and a half, had he lived.’

    That’s one of many sickening things about all of this. When you think about it; why on earth wasn’t this investigated and reported further?

    Just writing what I did above makes me so angry: ‘…There’s no question that having to pay for your girlfriend’s past sexual adventures must have affected him…’

    NO partner would want to pay a previous sexual liaisance money for ANY reason unless they were somehow pressured into it. I would not be surprised at all if Argento somehow threatened Tony into paying the money, probably not through actual intimidation but rather manipulation, like: “Oh, I am so sad, this could be such disaster for me, boo hoo’, or even more to the point, “How will I be able to pay all this, I might as well kill myself’. I’m willing to bet money on she said something along those lines, like threatening to kill herself because she knew that Tony of course would sort out her problems then.

    The fact that this sordid thing hasn’t been looked into further is baffling. I think the same about Rose McGowan’s influence on Jill Messick’s suicide.

    No wonder McGowan and Argento were friends – they are equally fucked in their little, heads. And no wonder they could no longer be friends (at least not officially) – the stink of their actions might have been too strong had they remained a unit that people thought of as ‘sticking together’. Both of them have a suicide on their hands – that would have been too suspicious – so they had to part ways.

  5. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, the skank claimed it was Tony who insisted on paying off the poor messed-up kid to help him out, on the condition Jimmy never bother them again. Here’s how I believe it went down…

    When first approached by Jimmy, the skank told Tony that if the story ever came out, it would ruin them both and he would have no choice but to dump her to save his reputation. From all the books written since, we now know that Tony was so insanely addicted to her, he would do ANYTHING to stay with her. The skank probably suggested the payoff (because with her it’s always about the money) and he agreed to do it because he was chivalrous that way and she’s broke.

    So, he had that threat of losing her/being exposed hanging over his head when they went to Hong Kong and he was also forced to get rid of Zach because she gave him an ultimatum, and he felt great guilt over that. The tradeoffs were piling up. The sum of coverup money was growing by $10K every month. She was painting him into a corner he eventually escaped on his own terms.

    As for Rose McGowan, she just had a lawsuit thrown out of court that she brought against Harvey Weinstein. She was claiming that he had his goons digging up dirt on her and trying to silence her. The court said, “Get outta here!” and she was unable to cash in on that situation.

  6. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    ‘She was painting him into a corner he eventually escaped on his own terms.’

    We all know that’s what happened (we just don’t know the exact details). It’s infuriating that she can’t own up to her blame for his downfall.

    As for McGowan, judging by what I’ve seen on Twitter she seems to have fallen down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole. She’s become her own little cult – ironically enough – with a bunch of Trump-loving followers who think she’s like the second coming.

    What the hell did Tony ever see in these two narcissistic, cruel losers? It’s embarrassing that he let his dick do his thinking for those last two years. He can’t possibly have been thinking with his brain.

  7. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I’d never heard of Rose McGowan before she glommed onto the skank, but she always struck me as having a few screws loose.

    I think once Tony got involved in the Jimmy Bennett mess, he was in for the duration. The skank and her friends all knew the deets, so if Tony ever denied them a request for money or tried to pull out, they just had to flap their gums to the media or on social media about his deal with Jimmy and his reputation and possibly TV career were toast.

    He probably hated himself for being so stupid. After navigating the entire planet, he let himself be brought down by such an obvious little con artist. And he KNEW it, because he said very early on that she was nuts and it was all going to end badly. His dick definitely led him to his downfall. It was so senseless on so many levels.

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