Borat director Larry Charles: why I asked terrorists to tell me a joke
The man behind Seinfeld, Borat and Curb Your Enthusiasm reveals what happened when he asked terrorists, warlords and white supremacists what makes them laugh
There are dark clouds over the beaches of Malibu, where a storm is raging. It all seems ridiculously out of place – and so does Larry Charles. The director of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat may live in the rarefied hills nearby, but as he emerges from the rain in his camouflage jacket, grey hoodie and long white beard, you can’t help thinking he’s exactly the sort of person who would trouble the Neighbourhood Watch.
His latest project, he tells me, was inspired by the feelings of restlessness he experiences living here in Hollywood’s gilded cage. “I didn’t want to wind up being complacent, safe and secure,” says Charles. “That isn’t why I got into comedy. I wanted to seek out what’s funny in different environments. I wanted to ask a member of Isis what they laugh about.”