Larry David shows enthusiasm for Carnegie Hall’s ‘Curb’ appeal

Pomona College’s Carnegie Hall briefly masqueraded as a courthouse for a filming of the upcoming season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” (Hannah Weaver • The Student Life)

Larry David emerged from a black SUV. He walked towards Pomona College’s Carnegie Hall. A cheering crowd of nearly a hundred extras awaited him. They held signs with messages like “Justice for Larry!” and “I would sell my family for you.”

From March 12-14, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” cast and crew members, including 90 extras, visited Claremont to film an exterior courthouse scene for the show’s upcoming 12th season, which will finish filming this month, according to crew members.

KJ Fagan, Pomona’s senior director of public programming and strategic initiatives, announced the filming in an email to Pomona students on March 10. 

“The project was intentionally scheduled during spring break to avoid any conflict with classes and academic programs,” Fagan said in the email. 

She also explained the financial incentive of having the show film on campus.

“Film shoots are an exciting part of campus life,” Fagan said. “But more importantly, the revenue that we receive from these projects helps to support faculty research and student financial aid.”

Crew member Walter Wiggins has been running the craft services for the show for the past four years. He told TSL that the show normally shoots episodes closer to LA. However, this episode needed a courthouse — and Carnegie Hall looked the part. 

So, the show packed up their equipment and drove east to set up camp in Claremont.

“It’s like a mobile city,” Wiggins said. “We come in with our own power, bathrooms, our own supplies, everything like that.”

Like Claremont, this mobile city also has its own village, where the directors and producers watch what is being filmed on screens. The rest of the crew was stationed with their equipment along the sidewalk and on the grass in front of Carnegie.

Jack Neely PO ’21 returned to campus to work on set as a COVID production assistant. (Hannah Weaver • The Student Life)

Jack Neely PO ’21 used to take economics classes in Carnegie until COVID-19 sent students home in 2020. Now, three years later, he’s returned to the building — not to take classes — but to work on the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” set as a COVID production assistant (PA). His role entails testing every cast and crew member daily for COVID and setting up air filters in indoor settings in order to ensure the production operates safely.

Working with “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is Neely’s second ever job in the filmmaking industry. 

“[I wanted] any on set position that would get me near the creative process, because I want to be a writer, specifically in comedy,” he said. “Here, I get to pester the writers and then see how Jeff Shafer, the director, does his work.”

Neely revealed that it was during his time at Pomona that his passion for writing eventually led him to screenwriting.

“It started with essays,” he said. “And then when I went abroad, a professor was like, ‘Yeah, we’re doing screenplays this week.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is phenomenal.’” 

Neely explained that working as a PA is not the most glamorous — his work lasted from 4:30 a.m. until around 7 p.m. during the Claremont shoot, alone. But he added that the work gives him valuable experience and an inside look into the industry. As a former economics major, Neely encouraged 5C students to continue to follow their passions and advised them not to worry too much if that falls outside their major. 

“Don’t stress too much about exactly what you’re studying as long as you try and find a passion, and work towards that rather than the diploma,” he said.

The filming at Carnegie drew many spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity. But for Wiggins, having worked on film sets for over a decade, seeing the likes of Larry David and Ted Danson doesn’t phase him.

“Funny thing is, a lot of them don’t look like what they would normally look like on screen, you know?” Wiggins said. “That’s why it’s kind of hard to see them in public. They just look at normal people walking around — which they are.”

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