Jeff Garlin burst onto the national scene as Larry David’s schlemiel of a manager on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which will begin its seventh season on HBO this fall, but last week his focus was decidedly local – at Third and Fairfax– as he emceed the Farmers Market’s 75th anniversary birthday bash on July 16.
Garlin told the some 150 participants gathered under the Market’s clock tower that he is more than just a fan of the Market – he regards it almost as a home away from home, the place he comes each morning to sit at the same table and eat breakfast with the same group of friends.
The 47-year-old performer first discovered the Market back in 1986, after moving into an apartment near Genesee and Fairfax with fellow comedian Janeane Garofalo. “When you’re a young actor and comedian first coming to L.A., it can be a very depressing place, because no one gives a c—- you’re here,” he said. “I remember going to the Farmers Market for the first time and thinking, ‘Great, L.A. is not going to be horrible.’ And I’ve been coming here ever since.”
In an interview, Garlin elaborated on why the Market made such an impression: “Before I moved here, I lived in Chicago and New York, where you’re always around people, and you felt part of something. But when I came to L.A., the hardest thing to get used to was the alienation of being in the car all the time.”
Over the years, the Market has helped provide Garlin with a sense of community – and many a meal. The portly actor has enthusiastically partaken of apple fritters at Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts and deli sandwiches at Magee’s Kitchen, among other fare, although he is now curbing the carbs because he is on a diet.
Then the USC marching band played, officials such as City Councilmember Tom LaBonge spoke and volunteers held up placards to create a giant “Happy Birthday“ card for the Market, which opened in July 1934, at the height of the Depression, on the site of what had once been a dairy farm and oil field.
Garlin didn’t partake of the giant birthday cake shaped like the clock tower (the diet again); as the event concluded he went off, ostensibly, to gear up for the new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (which, surprisingly, has never shot a single sequence at the Market).
Like all the “Curb” cast members, Garlin will improvise many of his own lines: “Larry David writes a seven-page story,” he told KRON-TV. “It’s the story of the episode. Most of his sitcom scripts are about 35 pages, so ours is seven pages so we improvise all of the dialogue. But the story is so condensed and great, so thank God he does that.”