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What it's like to work with Julia Louis Dreyfus, Jerry Seinfeld, and Larry David

Writer David Mandel is in town for the Austin Film Festival.

AUSTIN, Texas — David Mandel might not be the first name to pop in your mind when thinking about the shows "Veep," "Seinfeld" or "Curb Your Enthusiasm." That’s because he is one of the important people behind the camera.

Mandel was a writer for "Seinfeld," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Saturday Night Live."

He was the showrunner for "Veep," a job that Mandel jokingly describes by saying, "A showrunner does everything that he decides a showrunner needs to do. I really am responsible for like, you know, the overall arc of the season. You know, the buck stops with me. I have writers. Everything ultimately comes through me. They’ll write. I write on top. I'm often directing. If I'm not directing, I'm sitting next to the director. It's a process. I do all the editing. That's show running. It's a little bit of everything."

"Veep" has won several major awards, including 17 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Critics' Choice Television Awards, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards. In total, the show has 184 nominations and 60 awards. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has a handful of those awards from her multiple wins as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.


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Mandel had known Louis-Dreyfus from writing for "Seinfeld."

"Julia makes it easy," he said. "It's very easy for me to look very good at my job when Julia and her ilk, if you will, are doing your lines."

He describes the mutli-award-winning actress as a partner, as they would talk multiple times a day about scenes and the script.

Mandel also worked with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.

"One of the things that was just a pleasure about Jerry, that I don't think he gets enough credit for, is that when you look back on that show, how he let the other three people be so funny on a show called 'Seinfeld,'" said Mandel. "When you're around the business for a long time, you start to go backwards and think about how special that was, that he was so comfortable in his own comedy that he wanted the others too, and he knew that if they're funny and he's funny the whole show is funny. And if the show is funny, it can be something special."

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Mandel describes David as a kinder, gentler Larry in real life.

"He’s different from TV Larry, in that regular Larry often thinks about these things and then writes them down, and then TV Larry says them," he said regarding the brutally honest remarks that can be heard from David in "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

"He thinks those thoughts, but he doesn’t always act on them," Mandel said.

The "Veep" showrunner is in town for the Austin Film Festival. In his event, Seinfeld Retrospective, they will be showing a couple episodes and talking about what made it special, and, hopefully, answering the question of why the public is still talking about "Seinfeld" after all these years.

RELATED: Julia Louis-Dreyfus comes short of making Emmy history

"I think when you look back, it's a real pivot point in American comedy – like there are the shows before 'Seinfeld' and the shows after 'Seinfeld.' Thirty years from now someone will write a great book about what it did," he said.

Mandel is now planning his next venture for HBO, the company he worked with for "Veep" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."


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