Hard to believe, but "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Larry David's wildly irreverent, mostly improvised comedy, debuted on HBO 15 years ago this week -- Oct. 15, 2000. To mark this significant anniversary, HBO Comedy (Optimum Ch. 303; FiOS Ch. 408) is rerunning the series this month weeknights from 8 to 10 p.m. One of "Curb's" many joys were episodes featuring well-known performers playing themselves. Here are five such episodes airing this week:
THE GRAND OPENING (Oct.12, 8:30 p.m.) Larry's restaurant is about to open, but not before several problems crop up, including a chef with Tourette's syndrome and Larry accidentally injuring an influential food critic. Michael York, who plays one of Larry's restaurant partners, appears in the episode, as does Richard Lewis, who showed up in many episodes as Larry's best pal.
MEL'S OFFER (Oct. 12, 9 p.m.) Mel Brooks sees Larry performing karaoke in a bar and decides to ask him to star as Max Bialystock in a Broadway production of "The Producers." Also appearing: Ben Stiller (who will play Leo Bloom in "The Producers").
BEN'S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Oct. 12, 9:30 p.m.) Stiller has to drop out of "The Producers" when Larry accidentally punctures his eye during a game at his birthday party.
OPENING NIGHT (Oct. 14, 9:30 p.m.) Larry finally makes his Broadway debut in "The Producers," with his new co-star, David Schwimmer. Also appearing: Brooks; his wife, Anne Bancroft, and Nathan Lane.
THE LARRY DAVID SANDWICH (Oct. 15, 8 p.m.) Leo's Deli names a sandwich after Larry: It contains whitefish, sable, capers, onions and cream cheese. But Larry says he's "not a fish guy," so he tries to get good pal Ted Danson, who also has a sandwich named after him (turkey, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing) to switch sandwiches.