Larry David says he attacked Elmo because Elmo was discussing mental health

I love the Muppets. Elmo was before my time, but Kermit, Miss Piggy, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Fozzie Bear, Cookie Monster? All bangers, all the time. I’m not alone – people have strong feelings about the Muppets and Sesame Street across the board. When Elmo was introduced, kids responded in such a huge way because Elmo is a “kid” himself – he’s only supposed to be three-and-a-half in the Sesame Street world. He talks like a kid and he brings out the kid in all of us. That’s why so many people responded to Elmo last week when he checked in on Twitter, asking us how we’re really doing. It ended up being a really lovely moment about mental health, checking in with people, using your words and more. The rest of the Sesame Street gang all joined in, as did the Biden administration.

All of which made it even more appalling when Elmo appeared on the Today Show last week, and he was booked the same morning as Larry David. Out of nowhere, Larry David attacked – like, physically assaulted – Elmo, who is a CHILD in the Muppet universe. Here’s that video:

As someone pointed out, it actually appeared as if Elmo was shaking with anger when Larry David apologized. As you can see, it was not a “bit” planned out by producers. Larry David went over to Elmo while Savannah was trying to throw it to Al Roker. It was off-script. The apology was poorly handled by all involved – Savannah and Hoda should have treated it seriously, like one guest attacking another guest. And Larry David f–king sucks. You want to know how much he sucks? He said that he attacked Elmo specifically because of the mental health conversation earlier in the week:

Larry David‘s viral attack on Elmo became the focal point of his visit later in the day to “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” where the host grilled David on answers for what would make a person want to attack the beloved “Sesame Street” character on live television. Both David and Elmo were guests on the Feb 1. edition of NBC’s “Today” when David crashed the morning show set during Elmo’s interview and throttled his face.

“The clip is going around online, Larry. You can’t hide from this,” Meyers told David. “Elmo, some might say, is loved by all.”

“Yeah, yeah. I did it,” David said when asked for an explanation. He then impersonated Elmo’s high-pitched voice and continued: “Elmo was talking. I was waiting to be interviewed, and Elmo was going on about mental health and I had to listen to every word. And I was going, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, I don’t think I can take another second of this!’ And so I got off my chair and I approached him and I throttled him! I couldn’t take it!” David then wisecracked: “And you know what? I would do it again!”

[From Variety]

Can I be real? I never got into Curb Your Enthusiasm because of sh-t like this. People take Elmo seriously. Kids take Elmo seriously. It’s okay to take Elmo seriously and unironically enjoy Sesame Street. Earnestness and educational programming for children are not bad things. Elmo is a learning tool, an educational tool, and last week he unexpectedly started a national conversation about mental health. Larry David’s attitude is that the conversation is something worthy of mockery, or that it’s okay to assault a beloved children’s character… it’s genuinely gross.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Sesame Street/Twitter.

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78 Responses to “Larry David says he attacked Elmo because Elmo was discussing mental health”

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  1. Izzy says:

    I watched two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and, like Seinfeld, did not find it funny and couldn’t understand the fuss. I just don’t get it. Also, every time I’ve heard Larry David speak he sounds like a complete ahole.

    • Teddy says:

      Same re: Larry David. A toxic narcissist celebrated for being a complete a-hole. He’s such a jerk, he couldn’t bear to share air time with a muppet.

      • kirk says:

        Izzy & Teddy – Thank you for assuring me I haven’t missed anything by not watching CYE. What the heck is wrong with Larry David? What a stupid move, followed by other stupid unfunny moves.

      • Delphine says:

        I shared an office suite with Larry David in Santa Monica during Curb’s first season. It was just him and his assistant, and me and the person I assisted. He’s not actually like his character IRL. When he’s working in his office he’s just a normal person, not always doing a bit, and he was actually nice. I don’t think he thought this bit through.

    • MoxyLady007 says:


      Can we talk for a minute that there is a real human controlling and talking for Elmo- a beloved child muppet?

      Larry David attacked an ACTOR – and the character – on live TV.

      That’s assault. Period.

      • Danbury says:

        I didn’t even think about that. I hope the actor sues. Larry David is a vile POS

      • liz says:

        So true. The puppeteer controlling Elmo would have been sitting on the floor behind the couch, right at Larry David’s feet (within kicking range), unable to defend themselves and probably very unwilling to break character in the moment. Yes, Elmo is a beloved character, but there was a person under that muppet having to deal with Larry David’s idiocy in real time and on live TV.

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        That is what I’ve been telling people. Larry assaulted an actor and no one even cared. I doubt Sesame Street or the actor will press charges but they should.

        I know Sesame Street and the actor are trying to use this as a teaching moment but I feel so bas for the actor as well as the actor who plays Elmo’s dad. That must have been a shock to them and to see almost no one being concerned for their well being must be disheartening.

        Sesame Street better not invite Larry on for a teaching moment.

      • DK says:

        Excellent point, @MoxyLady007.

        The hosts should have called for security *immediately* and had Larry David thrown off the set.

        I’ve only seen the Elmo clips; was LD allowed to follow his assault with his actual, planned segment?

        If so, that’s absolutely unprofessional. (I mean, I get they were all probably startled and shocked too, and it can be hard to know how to respond in real time, but that’s when you cut to commercial, take a moment, and then figure out how to react. A producer should have pulled David’s segment immediately.)

      • Izzy says:

        And that is truly an important message that’s getting lost, so thank you for bringing it up as well. If you’ve ever seen a behind the scenes of the Muppets or Sesame Street, the people doing the muppeteering are indeed sitting RIGHT THERE.

      • TOPS says:

        Assault lol. This type of piling on to the hyperbole is why real assault victims don’t get believed. Calm down…

        Love Curb.

    • WaterDragon says:

      Izzy, Teddy and Kirk, 1000% agree. I could never see the attraction of CYE and rarely on Seinfeld. Unfortunately, I worked with a bunch of guys who quoted every episode of Seinfeld for years, yuck. Maybe i’m missing a humor gene, because I also found The Big Bang Theory boring and repetitive, the same joke over and over and over. Sigh.

    • BeanieBean says:

      So Larry’s ego couldn’t take being interviewed AFTER a muppet, was that it? That was despicable. He’s just going to assault whomever/whatever when he doesn’t like the conversation? What an insufferable pr*ck.

    • Justjj says:

      I’ve never thought Seinfeld or Curb were funny and have always found them boring af. I always considered them to be shows for salty white Boomer dads? They’re like the TV show equivalents of Dockers and Cole Haan driving shoes to me. This was horrible of him and probably a traumatic if not really troubling moment for the actor he attacked. I think he’s shaking with adrenaline/nerves/anxiety not necessarily anger during Larry’s “apology”.

  2. Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

    Today’s show was brought to you by the letters S and L and the number 0. Cause Larry David Sucks and is a Loser and the value of his comedy to society is none.

  3. snappyfish says:

    He personifies the whole “YOU get off my lawn” in human form. Not funny & seriously who picks on a muppet & wins?

  4. Not a Larry fan and what he did to a child puppet speaks to his childish behavior. A grown adult with a lick of common sense would have not behaved in such a manner. Leads me to believe that he has been a bully all his life.

  5. Jais says:

    Yeah, I really didn’t get what he was doing. After Elmo’s cute moment on Twitter, this guy does this? The humor is not humoring. A cynic might say he was trying to clout in Elmo’s viral success.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Whatever. The real reason as why he attacked Elmo was probably jealousy. I’m sure he’s pissed off that a puppet gets all this attention.

  7. Boxy Lady says:

    F*cking jerk. There is no justification for what he did. None.

  8. Jdbohac says:

    In addition, Elmo is controlled by a man, a puppeteer, whom Larry David also “throttled”. Yes, it probably was his hand, but can you imagine the puppeteer, doing his freaking job, and some asshole comes over and knocks you around???!!!!

  9. equality says:

    Isn’t that Elmo being used a hand puppet? It is attacking somebody. It is assault. He is a tool.

  10. Lady Digby says:

    Well that was mean and cruel and showed us all who LD is. Throttling anybody on live TV is not acceptable. Team Elmo forever!

  11. bisynaptic says:

    “Elmo is a learning tool, an educational tool…” and Larry David is just a tool.

  12. Sara says:

    The muppeteer should charge LD w/assault. LD is the type of person that the ONLY way they learn anything is if you hit them in the wallet. It is sad that someone LDs age needs to learn to keep their hands to themselves but this is where we are.

  13. Chaine says:

    Larry David has always been an unpleasant, nasty person. Never watched his show because I already disliked the Seinfeld show so much. He’s one of those inexplicably powerful people in the entertainment industry that I expect once he dies all the skeletons will come tumbling out of his closet.

  14. Truthiness says:

    It was a bit. It is like a Seinfeld episode where George (modeled on David) does something socially unforgivable – fill in the the blank, there are so many – and gets scolded for his unrepentant ways.

    I enjoy Seth Meyers. The two Larry David segments were definitely written as a sketch, both Larry and Seth write. Seth got in some good zingers on Larry David, Larry laughed at the accuracy of the zingers and 100% admitted he was wrong in a bit at the end.

    I’m not a big Larry David fan but I LOVE his many anti-Trump moments. Trump was doing his monologue as he hosted snl in 2015 and Larry shouted YOU’RE A RACIST at him (scripted, camera on him) during the monologue.

    • North of Boston says:

      I’m going to repeat what I said in the “links” post that mentioned LD’s actions:

      It’s strikes me as “a bit” the way Kimmel’s laying on the stage while Quinta Brunson was “a bit”:

      An unfunny stunt pulled by an entitled guy who is trying to make something ALL ABOUT HIM, pulling focus from and stomping all over someone or something that’s important and valuable to people who are not him, who he obviously didn’t take 2 nanoseconds to consider because he’s the selfish center of his own petty dopey universe.

      LD also is the kind of person who not only doesn’t offer gentleness, compassion or earnestness, he refuses to abide any one of those in his presence without trying to ish all over it.

      • Truthiness says:

        North, I think you have this right. It’s a bit that stunk, just like Kimmel lying down on the stage during Quinta’s time.

        There’s supposed to be outrage.

        Then we mock him. Seth was mocking Larry for 2 long segments. The Elmo bit isn’t redeemable, Seth mocking Larry for being an offensive idiot worked.

      • North of Boston says:

        I’m not sure we see it the same way … the “and then we mock him” is irrelevant.

        It should have never happened in the first place.

        Elmo, the puppeteer who brings him to life are not “props” or “guest stars” for Larry David to hijack, the important topic they were exploring is not there as a “backdrop” for his “bits” no matter what LD’s goal, play, punchline was. Just like Quinta Brunson is not a prop and her winning an award is not a moment that should have been hijacked by JK for a bad joke. They are people or “Muppets” and those were moments: ALL with value to many other people. Both LD and JK decided to “use” them in ways that were obnoxious and distracted from what they were doing.

  15. Minority Report says:

    I swear I thought I was the only person genuinely upset by this. How many children were in the audience that morning? And the muppeteer who brings us Elmo was at WORK on live television while they were assaulted in the middle of their performance. So disrespectful.

    • JanetDR says:

      Exactly! Incredibly rude and unprofessional. Poor little Elmo was trying to help people.

      • GamerGrrl says:

        Our family is dealing with the onset of mental illness in our (adult) son, and Elmo bringing attention to this has been very meaningful. This felt like an assault on our child… Larry David just gave permission to people who don’t want to hear about his “(bleeping) feelings,” because they don’t understand it’s not feelings – it’s a condition.

  16. Zapp Brannigan says:

    I’m in Ireland so not familiar with this show, but would it be the type of show that parents would allow kids to watch if Elmo was on? I would think that Elmo being attacked, even if a planned sketch, would be scary to a small child. What possessed anyone to think this was a funny idea.

    As for Larry David, the way he writes women in his shows combined with the fact he has worked with Woody Allen tells me all I need to know.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      yes, if a parent knew Elmo was on they would most likely let their kids watch (if a parent has pre-school aged kids, they may even have this show on for background noise and to catch the odd segment while they kid was playing nearby as well) so this was really inappropriate for David to do. Also, I don’t understand why after throwing the camera to Roker Hoda/Jenna called the camera back to show what David was doing. That and laughing about it were piss poor decisions

    • La Dolce Vita says:

      @Zapp Brannigan:
      So true “the way he writes women in his shows combined with the fact he has worked with Woody Allen tells me all I need to know.”
      The misogyny of both Seinfeld and CYE need no further explanation. And we know Jerry Seinfeld “dated” a 17 year old when he was 38 years old.

  17. Brassy Rebel says:

    The one who really needs a mental health conversation is Larry David. And his explanation is that Elmo was annoying him somehow? It says something that he lacks the patience to just sit there and listen to something he finds annoying. Would not want to be his significant other or his children. Anger management, anyone?

  18. greenmonster says:

    I think even Rocco is #teamelmo on this one.

  19. kyliegirl says:

    Larry David is a prime example of why so many people were trauma dumping on Elmo. His brand of entertainment is being mean and misogynistic. The only emotion appropriate to show is anger and irritation. This whole incident was handled inappropriately by the today show. It was assault. Hitting people, hurting people because you can’t handle your own emotions is NEVER OK. Definitely not funny. Fu@k Larry David.

  20. Fifee says:

    All I can think about is the kids who were in a room with parents/caregivers watching this once they heard Elmo’s voice and seeing a grown twat attacking what could potentially be their favourite character/toy. Imagine being a kid seeing that, I’m furious as an adult but the horror in seeing that as a child is overwhelming.

  21. Eurydice says:

    Maybe he has a thing about inanimate objects talking, talking, talking. Like having Alexa give you a lecture on the evils of junk food. And also, as an old curmudgeonly jackass, Larry David doesn’t get that Elmo is a real character to children.

  22. sevenblue says:

    Ok, I’ll be honest. I love Seinfeld and enjoy the latest seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm (CYE). The characters in Seinfeld were a**holes, all of them. That was like one thing separating it from other shows. You don’t root for any of them, just enjoy their demise. They literally went to jail on the final episode for not helping someone in need and instead, mocking him. The character George in Seinfeld is loosely based on Larry David. In CYE, he is playing an exaggerated version of himself. Again, in the show, he makes sure that the audience knows he is an a**hole. Other characters roast him all the time.

    When I first saw Today’s segment, I thought it was a bit from CYE. I read that he is friends with some guy from Sesame Street and they both have shows on HBO. So, I thought it was promotion for the last season of CYE. I don’t find it funny as Larry David, but it fits his character from the show. He said on Conan show once, sometimes he acts like his character in real life and then, apologizes people after for being an a**hole. Maybe, it was one of those moments.

    • Truthiness says:

      Yes, it’s 💯 a bit. It sets up comedians who mock his failings. Seth Meyers was mocking Larry’s many failures and Larry was cracking up every time because it was true. You hit the nail on the head where you said we enjoy his demise.

      This is like getting mad over Rodney Dangerfield saying “I get no respect.” It’s just a bit.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Is that what small kids are thinking? Do they have that reasoning ability? That’s what you should be asking yourself. You also need to ask why an adult needs to go after a muppet. It’s a muppet.

        I didn’t watch Seinfeld because I just thought they were all a bunch of whinny adults. They annoyed me. When I was channel surfing and came to that show, I just kept going. I didn’t once attack the TV.

      • Truthiness says:

        Saucy, the Today show is not for kids. I controlled my child’s screen time and every day contained teachable moments. Discussions about “that joke isn’t funny” by age 3, that things on TV are fake, you can’t touch other people, etc.

        I don’t think children or adults should watch the Today show. Even if I liked it, I would never have a child watch it.

      • NotTheOne says:

        Everyone has different triggers but @Truthiness, your defense is kinda sounding like the Chappelle fans: “you just don’t get his humor”. Maybe but maybe we do and we’re just all tired of a******s.

      • kirk says:

        Comparing the ‘mean on purpose’ L David misanthrope ‘act’ to Rodney Dangerfield’s “I get no respect” persona is a huge stretch @Truthiness.

      • Truthiness says:

        Lmao, I am not defending Larry David and I don’t watch his shows. It is a bit. And it stunk.

  23. JaneS says:

    I do not find Larry David funny. Or CYE.
    There is nothing funny about attacking, physically laying hands on anyone.
    Kids see Elmo and the Muppets as equals.
    Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers have spent decades teaching and helping kids reason their way thru childhood.

    LD is a total jackass for this.

  24. Duch says:

    It’s punching down that’s what it is. I don’t find this funny in the least. And a beloved children’s character? It’s gross and shameful it really is.

    I enjoyed him in small doses before. But no longer.

    And I agree with you the bystander reactions were nearly as despicable. The crew should apologize STAT.

  25. Bumblebee says:

    Physically assaulting anyone, real or representing a person, awful. A half hour show of Larry David yelling and bullying people, especially his wife, who spends her time apologizing for him, horrible. Someone please bring back Mr. Rogers.

  26. North of Boston says:

    To the people who say “it’s just a bit”

    It’s a bit if he does it on his show. Or during a guest appearance HE’s doing in a segment on a talk show.

    Him doing it at the end of another guest’s segment about a completely different and important topic, that this puppet character was “someone” thousands of people were vulnerable sharing their vulnerability and struggles with, was “someone” offering compassion and safety and warmth to thousands of strangers, visually assaulting and verbally bullying, taking out his lack of emotional regulation on a children’s tv character who is a child themselves in universe was ugly, mean spirited, self-centered and upsetting. I don’t care if HE viewed it as a bit. His intentions DON’T matter; his actions and words DO. It wasn’t funny, it was mean, and it obviously upset people.

    Plus it derailed the conversation about support and compassion and a safe place to share mental health struggles and focused it on ugly violent destructive behavior (and attitudes apparently given LDs follow up comments)

    LD is welcome to act like that/play that character on a show. He’s also welcome to have his dog poop on his lawn. He’s not welcome to have his dog poop on other people’s lawns or load poop into a potato cannon and launch it at the crowd at a Blue Man Group show, or folk concert or on a street corner.

    • paddingtonjr says:

      Very well said North of Boston. The Sesame Street team knows who their audience is – the kids. If Elmo is a guest on a show, they know kids will probably be watching and that the puppeteer can’t and won’t do anything to break the illusion that Elmo is a living, breathing autonomous child. I find it difficult to believe that they would agree to a “bit” that showed Elmo in danger. If they didn’t agree to the “bit”, Larry David attacked a child (and the adult puppeteer doing his job) without provocation and that is straight up assault. Never mind that Elmo was a guest discussing an important issue that people obviously responded to and was worthy of a serious discussion. If Larry David wants to invite Elmo on CYE and do a bit (with Children’s Workshop agreement) or do a bit with a parody Elmo, fine. Some people might find that humorous (I don’t). And yes, Elmo can be annoying sometimes, just like a child. But LD’s actions showed his “humor” is mean, not funny.

  27. ooshpick says:

    This makes me sad. Kid stuff can be annoying to me but it’s important to so many adults and kids alike. It is sad to see a grown man using violence against a beloved children’s character. Shame on him.

  28. Kingston says:

    Larry David was acting out/did what he did on nbc on behalf of all the anti-woke magats out there; all the aggrieved white males, all the incels who believe that their sense of superiority/their way of life is being eroded by what I’m sure they believe is this wave of “PC” “wokeness.”
    This movement that is seeking to ensure that every demographic in American society is imbued with the same sense of ownership of America that white males hv taken for granted for almost 250 yrs.

    I was so surprised tht he said it was bcos of the MH awareness tht Elmo represented in his stint on the show. And even if LD tries to pass off his attack & the reason for the attack as a joke, u best believe the anti-woke people he represents don’t take it as a joke.

    And as @kaiser said, Elmo is an important learning tool for children. A whole bunch of children around the world hv been traumatised by this poorly thought-out joke-not-a-joke.

    • Truthiness says:

      Larry David is as anti MAGA as they come. Virulently hating Trump as far back as Trump’s real estate days. With lights and camera on David, Larry screamed “YOU’RE A RACIST” at Trump when Trump was doing his host monologue on SNL in 2015. He knew Trump for what he was very early on. You can say he’s offensive but every cell in his body is anti-MAGA.

      There’s a clip where someone is complaining to Larry that he’s alienating a really large number of MAGA people. He replied “Alienate yourself. Go, go and alienate! You have my blessing. No, I could give a f–k.”

  29. NanceG says:

    Smug narcissist fails to amuse or be able to defend why he publicly attacked a hand puppet.

  30. Eliza says:

    Bad behavior for sure but I think Elmo is annoying and ruined Sesame Street. Also what kids are watching this anyways

    • AngryJayne says:


    • Mcgee says:

      Kids may not be watching the show as a thing, but if Elmo is on it’s reasonable to think that it is a moment that is appropriate for kids.

      “Hey, look, Elmo is on!” Or a kid just hearing that distinctive voice.

      The cynicism here is not a respectful look.

  31. Bean says:

    I do appreciate Craig Melvin saying it’s not ok to touch someone without permission.

  32. Bienestar88 says:

    I personally really like Seinfeld and Curb, but this is appalling truly appalling behavior.

  33. J.Ferber says:

    His philanthropist wife (whom he has two daughters with) divorced his ass years ago. And I hope she still does philanthropy– all with his money. What an absolute JERK to do that. It’s really gross, unfunny, and totally sends the wrong message about mental health–like Larry David NEEDS therapy to take care of his own mental health issues. Elmo is an ICON and Larry David is a p.o.s. I hope his new or next wife divorces him too.

  34. Call_Me_AL says:

    This is the final straw. You don’t f–k with the Elmo. I would love to see some reaction videos from celebrities on this defending Elmo. Like The Rock, etc. That would be cute.

  35. OhFFS says:

    I cannot believe people are actually worked up over this.

  36. Squints says:

    Good lord, he was throttling a hand. I appreciate his humor. I’m only sorry he didn’t bring it home for his dog as a chew toy.

  37. Aries48 says:

    After reading the comments, I felt compelled to contact the Today Show to complain about the hosts’ lack of responsiveness. This was an assault. Would people be more inclined towards anger if it had been a puppy? For kids, Elmo is real and teaches them how to handle life. Seeing his attack can be triggering.

    The Today Show hosts should have apologized to Elmo and his dad. Instead, they sat there awkwardly laughing.

    Please call the Today Show and let them know an apology to the actors and the viewers is needed. Letters can be sent to 30 Rockefeller Plaza New York, NY 10112 or call them at (212) 664-4602. For more information, visit the website at

  38. Ameerah M says:

    Larry David is, and always has been a POS

  39. jc says:

    I think Larry David is a genius and that Curb is one of the best shows of all time. He is my spirit animal.

  40. dawnchild says:

    I watched Seinfeld when it came out and thought it was different and funny.
    The bits were revealing of human weakness and we could relate to parts of it ruefully. But that shtick carried on relentlessly over the years into CYE is just an empty cynicism that really doesn’t offer anything other than a negation of anything good or positive. Like why? If you kill idealism, enthusiasm, positivity… like what’s the world view you are offering in its stead? Just be skeptical of everything? It doesn’t take a genius to put things down. Negating is only half the work of cutting through artificiality, the harder part is building up something true and useful in its stead. That’s why these shows look clever superficially, but empty in the end. And depressing…IMHO