Grade School and Middle School: 1953-1962

Larry grew up in a Jewish Housing section in Sheepshead Bay. He went to Elementary school at PS 194 Raoul Wallenberg and Shell Bank Middle School. sheepshead_bay_aka_shore_road

Larry would eventually become one of the most successful comedians in the world, but while an adolescent he was considered "obnoxious" to his older brother Ken's friends who were annoyed by his grating personality and behavior.
He was not a class clown, but did like doing impressions at home for his family, even if they were a tough crowd.

Larry's house was a hub of family activity with his siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents always around. He recalls it was always "raucous. Ruckus and raucous. My aunt lived next door, and we were very friendly with the other neighbors across the hall, so there were three apartments in arm's length of each other, and people constantly coming in, in and out, fighting, screaming. I had an uncle and my grandmother upstairs, and another cousin upstairs and two more cousins and my aunt and uncle next door, and I just remember it as being very busy, and a lot of yelling. My parents fighting, my father fighting with my brother, my mother fighting with my brother, I'm fighting with my mother, my mother's fighting with our sister, I'm fighting with my cousin, there's all kinds of fights going on, and yelling, and also, everybody knew your business."brooklyn_1940s The lack of privacy irked him, "you would do something during the day, and then all of a sudden, during dinner, my aunt would come in and say, 'so, Larry, I hear you have a date.' 'How would you know something like that?' 'Larry, I heard you talking to Stella's daughter." Everybody knew everything. It was very smothering."

Larry loved baseball and was one of the biggest Yankees fans in the world. He collected baseball cards and was constantly memorizing the statistics on the back of the cards and in the newspapers so he could banter about who were the best players with his friends.

Unfortunately, Larry's love of baseball did not carry over to actual athletic talent. Larry, however, disputes this claim, saying he was good at basketball. In reality, he was as uncoordinated and awkward as a foal with three legs; he never played sports in middle or high school. This physical dyslexia, however, would serve him well as a comedian. Larry had an early stint with performing comedy in the eighth grade. He played a woman and was quite a hit, however, he quit for ten years after an incident in summer camp. "Once I auditioned for something and a kid called me a faggot, and that kind of registered with me: 'Oh, is that what I'm going to have to put up with if I do this? Because I'm not going to be able to handle that.' One 'faggot,' and I was done! Profiles in courage."

Larry was never particularly skilled with girls either. His unrefined comedy didn't win them over, which may have led to a lot of lonely nights spent with adult magazines.

One would think Larry was addicted to self-pleasure during his teenage years given the recurrence of this theme throughout his career. His first long monologue in his early 20s was actually about the dynamics of it.

It's logical to think that at this time it wasn't a very funny topic for Larry's mother.

Of course, years later his obsession would facilitate his greatest writing achievement: "The Master of My Domain" Seinfeld episode which earned him an Emmy Award for writing, and ironically turned his greatest shame into his crowning achievement.

What were the odds that Larry would turn a fascination with a sexual dysfunction into comedy gold?


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