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After a five year hiatus, everybody’s favorite curmudgeon, Larry David, returned with his beloved HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm.

And, it’s been a wild ride for Larry this season. The funniest storyline has come from his running from a FATWA issued by the Ayatollah after he made disparaging remarks. In recent episode “The Tribunal”, Larry is goes up in front of a religious tribunal. Led by the head Mufti, played by veteran actor Amir AboulEla, the panel is tasked with ruling on Larry’s actions.

If he looks familiar, it’s because he appeared as Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein in Bill Condon’s Oscar winning God’s and Monsters, starring Ian McKellen. The Egyptian-born, Texas raised actor also recurred as on the WB’s Charmed and NBC’s The Pretender.

I recently caught up with Amir AboulEla to find out more about his role on the show.

What can you tell us about your role in Curb Your Enthusiasm?

AMIR ABOULELA: Well Larry had been sentenced to a Fatwa, a holy decree by the Ayatollah which encourages folks to murder him for religious atrocities in the first episode of season nine. He had eluded death by utilizing a clever wig and mustache disguise as well as many other ups and downs that come with having a Fatwa lingering over him.

How was it to sit in judgement of the notorious Larry David?

AMIR: First of all it was funny. This guy has been at the top of the comedy game for years for good reason. He has surrounded himself with a great team of happy funny people and we just basically laughed and had fun all day.

Any funny stories from the set you can share with us?

AMIR: The team of Muftis were all so talented and spot on with their individual roles and we all fell into some hilarious improvs. At one point Larry had asked about the proper pronunciation of Mufti. We went back and forth a few times enunciating Mooooofteeee at each other louder and louder. Then the next thing you know the whole tribunal of Muftis was yelling out Mooooofteeee as Larry desperately responded Mooooofteee until the whole cast and crew burst into laughter.

Was the dialogue scripted or did you mostly improv your role?

AMIR: Our scene was scripted and director Bob Wiede had told me that it is rare that they script dialogue. They had a number of plot points that needed to be addressed. We did do a lot of impromptu improv sprinkled throughout.

Do you think your character might come back again?

AMIR: There was a rumor going around that Larry would take in Head Mufti as a third roommate next season. Can you imagine Larry and the Head Mufti bringing two diverse cultures under one roof.

What’s been the biggest lesson you took away from the opportunity?

AMIR: Career highlights are born when opportunity meets hard work and preparation. On top of that, I believe it was Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower who said “preparation is everything, until the battle begins”.

Got anything else coming up we can watch for the near future?

AMIR: I just finished Tears of a Clown, a film directed by E-Kan Soong about the plight of the clown industry.

Connect with Amir AboulEla on Twitter: @AmirAboulEla // Instagram: @AmirGoesWest
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