R.I.P. Garry Shandling

Sam Haine is simply a writer born on the East Coast who enjoys cooking. He is the contributor of the monthly Retro Movie Review and the recurring ‘Remember This…’ column.


Garry Emmanuel Shandling (November 29, 1949 – March 24, 2016) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, writer, producer and voice artist, best known for his work in It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show.

I grew up watching Garry’s first show on Showtime. It was a groundbreaking show that poked fun at the concept of a television comedy and one of the first to break the fourth wall. I would stay up and watch It’s Garry Shandling Show andSuper Dave in secret while my family slept. It was funny to me even if I didn’t understand some of the deeper punchlines that were delivered.

I had forgotten about him altogether until, The Larry Sanders Show premiered; poking fun at the late night talk show concept. The show was a massive hit and featured some of the best moments from Rip Torn.

During his 3-decade career, Shandling was nominated for 19 Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, along with many other awards and nominations. He served as host of the Grammy Awards four times and as host of the Emmy Awards three times.

Shandling began his career writing for sitcoms, such as Sanford and Son andWelcome Back, Kotter. He made a successful stand-up performance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and became a frequent guest-host on the show. Shandling was for a time considered the leading contender to replace Carson (other hopefuls were Joan Rivers, David Letterman, and David Brenner). In 1986, he created It's Garry Shandling's Show for the pay cable channelShowtime. It was nominated for four Emmy Awards (including one for Shandling) and lasted until 1990. His second show titled The Larry Sanders Show, which began airing on HBO in 1992, was even more successful. Shandling was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards for the show and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 1998, along with Peter Tolan, for writing the series finale. In film, he had a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He also lent his voice to Verne in DreamWorks Animation's Over the Hedge. 

March 24, 2016, Shandling died of a massive heart attack. He was never married and had no children. He was a big basketball and boxing fan, even going so far as to co-own a boxing gym with actor/director Peter Berg.

Shandling was honored by several of his close friends on the Sunday after his passing with a pickup game of basketball at his former home, a weekly ritual that had become tradition for the comedian. Among those participating wereJeffrey Tambor, Bill Maher, Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman and Kevin Nealon.


Stand Up Compilation

Interview for the Archive of American Television (1 of 2)