Achievement unlocked: make a tangible mark on a premium cable comedy show.
The above photo is a still from the most recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I am at least partially responsible for the hideous red and yellow tie that Jeff Garlin is wearing.
To explain: while in college, I was in a long form improv group called the Immediate Gratification Players. As an upperclassman, I became the director of the group (we called this position the “tsar”). One thing about college improv groups at the time (we called groups “troupes”) was that at festivals and sometimes at shows troupes would wear matching team t-shirts. Not all teams did this, and I have the feeling that it has slowly been phased out in the same way that many college teams have phased out short form in favor of long form. However, upon taking the helm, one of the duties of the tsar was to orchestrate the design and order of new t-shirts for that year. I think after seeing that a college team from New York City did not wear matching shirts, I had developed the sense that matching shirts were not cool. Wanting to make a mark while keeping the tradition alive, I decided to try to set our team apart by designing matching ties instead. Lo and behold, I chose ketchup-red and mustard-yellow striped ties with our team name written at the very bottom in black arial font. I did not mean for these to be comically hideous - I thought they would look classy.
After I graduated, my legacy has lived on in the form of those ties. This past year I overheard some other NYC improvisers talking about a “Harry Pottery, tie-wearing college team” at a festival they’d just been at, and I knew they were referring to my alma mater.
A couple years later, new tsar Scott Levin set about to create an “IGP Player of the Year” award, in line with something done by some of the more prestigious institutions at our school. IGP gave the award to Jeff Garlin, and he showed up to receive it. He was made an honorary member and given a tie. He promised to wear it on Curb. And he did.
So yes, Scott created a legitimate sounding award and somehow contacted a Famous Person and got him to show up (something which even now sounds like such an impossibly daunting task that it would never cross my mind to even propose it) but I designed the tie. On a website that basically did it for you. But still, in terms of strictly who is responsible for the ties, I can claim that fully.
I’d like to think that at some point Larry David made fun of the tie and Jeff had to explain why he was wearing it. No, they wouldn’t have mentioned me by name, but in a way, I was a part of that conversation.
Tonight I will sleep soundly.