Harvard Improv Group Invites ‘Curb’ Star

'Curb Your Enthusiasm' comedian is first IGP Player of the Year

Jeff Garlin—a comedian who plays Larry David’s manager on the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm”—will be honored as the first “Immediate Gratification Player of the Year” at an IGP comedy show on March 6.

The Immediate Gratification Players, one of two Harvard improvisational comedy groups, inaugurated the award earlier this year.

Garlin is slated to perform a guest monologue at the IGP’s show. The event will include an awards ceremony, where instead of receiving a medal or trophy, Garlin will be awarded his own red-and-yellow necktie, an IGP hallmark.

Best known for executive producing and co-starring in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Garlin also provided the voice for the spaceship captain in the movie “WALL-E.” He has appeared in television shows including “Arrested Development,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and “The Daily Show.”

Garlin is joining the ranks of Justin Timberlake and Wyclef Jean—two other celebrities recently selected as honorees of the year by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, respectively.

“There are other groups who bring celebrities to campus, but what’s different about our award is we’re trying to celebrate someone who is a comedian first and foremost,” IGP Czar Scott A. Levin-Gesundheit ’11 said.

Levin-Gesundheit added that Garlin was selected because he began his acting career in improvisation. Garlin was a member of The Second City, a well-known improv theatre in Chicago that has housed celebrity comics including Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch.

“He’s done improv comedy, he’s done stand-up comedy, he’s produced movies and directed,” said IGP member Benjamin W.K. Smith ’12, who also heads On Thin Ice, Harvard’s other improv troupe. “He’s done it all in terms of the comedy scene.”

Though Garlin is the first to receive this honor, Levin-Gesundheit said he hopes the troupe will give additional “Immediate Gratification Player of the Year” awards in the coming years.

“We’re hoping to give this award as much as possible, devaluing it to the point where it basically means nothing,” Levin-Gesundheit said.

—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at dkolin@fas.harvard.edu.

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