Friday, 25 March 2016


My obituary of Garry Shandling is up at the Guardian online, you can link to it here. As I said this morning on Twitter, Larry Sanders is probably my favourite comedy show ever, and the obit was pretty easy to write: I knew how great it and he were and how I wanted to explain that. I would've liked more room to quote some of his lines, but his wasn't the kind of comedy to be remembered with one-liners, that was part of the story.

In fact the hardest part of writing it was constantly typing Larry Sanders when I meant Garry Shandling! The story ran pretty much as written: there's also a link to the excrusiatingly funny Ricky Gervais interview, whose explanation got rewritten slightly confusingly: Shandling wanted to do his interview first, but they did Gervais' filming first, which got them off on the wrong foot, as it were. They also cut, for some reason, the mention that Shandling had been Carson's favourite guest-host, until he had to stop doing that when his own debuted in 1986, which is a big part of why Jay Leno, who more or less took his place guest-hosting, wound up with Carson's spot when he retired.

I would have loved some space to track his influence in more detail (Apatow, for example, got his first break as a writer for Sanders). And I would have liked to spend a little more time of his Buddhism. There was a funny story about his bumping into Conan O'Brien in first class flying back from Hawaii, as one does, where he had gone to meditate on the Buddha, as one does.  And another about his telling a joke to the Dali Lama, which the Lama doesn't get. Or his basketball games. But go to you tube and watch the Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee interview with Seinfeld.  They're discussing when David Brenner died. Jerry says his first thought was 'there goes a lot of material', which Garry finds incredible. The talk about Robin Williams' suicide and the quotes I used follow. Shandling boxed regularly, he hooped on Sundays, and he died of a sudden heart attack at 66. RIP

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