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Curb Your Enthusiasm head Jeff Schaffer learned a key rule of comedy from Sasha Baron Cohen

CNET logo CNET 7/4/2020 Patrick Holland
Jeff Schaffer et al. standing in a room: Jeff Schaffer (second from left) watches actors rehearsing a scene for his new Netflix show Brew Bros. Netflix © Provided by CNET Jeff Schaffer (second from left) watches actors rehearsing a scene for his new Netflix show Brew Bros. Netflix

Writer, director and producer Jeff Schaffer has worked on some of the biggest TV shows of the past 30 years. Following a gig as a writer on Seinfeld  -- he didn't come up with Festivus, but he did think up the holiday's aluminum pole  -- he's served as a writer, director and producer on Curb Your Enthusiasm for the past 11 years. The show wrapped its tenth season in March, the same month Schaffer launched a new show on FX called Dave that stars rapper/comedian Lil Dickey.

Jeff Schaffer et al. standing in a room: Jeff Schaffer (second from the left) watches over actors rehearsing a scene for his new Netflix show Brew Bros. © Netflix

Jeff Schaffer (second from the left) watches over actors rehearsing a scene for his new Netflix show Brew Bros.

In an interview on the CNET podcast I'm So Obsessed, Schaffer explained how writing with Sasha Baron Cohen on Bruno partly influenced how he approached presenting Lil Dicky's character, especially when it comes to putting him into awkward situations.

"He always told us to make sure that there's a point to the person that you're hitting," Schaffer said. "Make sure that it's a valid target. And that has translated to [Dave] where we talk about a lot of things. People will be very surprised if they've just seen Dave's Lil Dicky videos. They'll be very surprised at the depth that this show has and how much it has to say."

While the show is definitely filled with humor, Dave deals with themes like mental illness in the black community, personal confidence, appropriation issues and creativity. And if working on Dave and Curb Your Enthusiasm wasn't enough, Schaffer also produced the new Netflix series Brew Brothers along with his brother Greg Schaffer. The comedy follows two brothers running an awful craft brewery in Van Nuys, California, which Schaffer proudly pointed out is the "porn capital of the world." And it's not lost on Schaffer that he's making a show with his brother about two brothers working together.

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During our wide-ranging interview, Schaffer talks about Brews Brothers, how he came up with the idea of the Festivus pole and when Larry David knows it's time for another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm (it's complicated).

Listen to my entire conversation with Schaffer on Spotify or Apple, and subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode we catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsession.

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