Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld Producer Describes The Evolution Of Comedy Over The Past Twenty Years

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Answers by David Mandel, Exec Producer Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, SNL, Eurotrip, ComicArt, on Quora.

A: Larry's impact is like the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. First, look at what TV was like pre-seinfeld, and look at it after. He allowed New York to be a character, and apartment dwellers and dare I say Jews to be on TV. When he went on to do Curb, with its pseudo-doc style, and its improv, there is no way things like the office or even the films of Judd Apatow would exist without Curb paving the way.


A: Thats a tough question. I think we have to talk about network TV vs cable and now internet TV.

The short answer is that network tv comedy has gotten way worse. When Seinfeld was on NBC, Seinfeld was made by Castle Rock and it was sold to NBC, who as a network aired the show and sold adds. But NBC did not own Seinfeld. Networks were not allowed to own shows. So there was great competition for the best shows between the 3 and then 4 networks. In the late 90's after much expensive lobbying in Washington DC, the laws were changed and networks were allowed to own their own programming.

So then you had ABC productions making shows for ABC. And in this new system, it became better business for a network to put a show on that they owned whether it was good or not. Why would they put something on that they don't own. Because of that, most of the great independent TV production companies either went away or they were forced to share ownership with the networks.

The net result of that, was terrible TV shows. Especially comedies, which I think are much harder to do. The networks put on comedies they owned, and you saw those results.

The good news was that as the networks sucked, places like HBO and then later Amazon and netflix were able to step in and start making more interesting comedies.


A: I can't speak for everyone. But to me, zero. I could care less. Sometimes, when they want something, I would rather not give it to them because they want it-- like the way Larry killed off Susan. There were loads of people who wanted a happy George and Susan marriage if you can believe that.

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