Segments in this Video

Film's Inspiration (06:16)


Garry Shandling reads old excerpts of his journals aloud. Judd Apatow discusses how Shandling served as his mentor for over 25 years. (Credits)

Family Relationships (04:52)

Mike Shandling reminisces about his cousin's childhood. Watch video and photography of him growing up. Barry Shandling died and no one mentioned his brother again.

Shandling's Teen Years (03:30)

Shandling listened to comedians on "The Tonight Show" or "The Ed Sullivan Show" and spoke to people across the world on his Ham Radio. Listen to the original character sketches created by Shandling. When Barry died, Shandling continued writing to his pen pal in Japan.

College Years (02:11)

Shandling attended the University of Arizona, majoring in electrical engineering. He transferred to the business school and wrote monologues during classes. When George Carlin came to Arizona, he agreed to read Shandling's pages.

Moving to LA (02:17)

Shandling moved to LA with his girlfriend, Wendy and met someone who asked him to write a spec script for "Sanford and Son." After writing several scripts for "Welcome Back, Kotter," the comedian grew bored.

Stand-up Career (04:46)

Shandling started watching comedians at the "Comedy Store" and eventually grew confident enough to perform during an amateur night. Listen to letters he wrote home describing his progress improving his sets. Mitzi Shore, the owner believed Shandling a writer, not a performer.

Traffic Accident (05:38)

Shandling was involved in a car accident that helped him to gain insight to his life and push him to become a stand-up comic full-time. Listen to journal entries where the comedian pushes himself to succeed using motivational phrases. Shandling took dance classes to appear more natural.

The Comedy Store (04:32)

Watch an excerpt of Shandling's stand-up routine. Jim Carrey used to tease that his daughter had Shandling's eyes. Shandling never felt comfortable with Steve Martin or David Letterman but befriended Bob Saget.

Spirituality (04:19)

Shandling dabbled in crystals, Buddhism, meditation, and ate only healthy foods. In time his performance caught up with his writing talent. Friends describe Shandling's pathos and desire to succeed; listen to journal entries.

"Talking Heads Pilot" (06:18)

Colleagues describe how comedians created sets of five-minute stand-up routines so they would be ready to perform on "The Tonight Show." Shandling gained limited success appearing on various television shows including "Make Me Laugh." Friends describe how he constantly reviewed notes prior to a set.

"The Tonight Show" (07:02)

A booking could launch the career of a stand-up comic. Watch Shandling's first appearance on Johnny Carson's show. Bob Saget recalls how Shandling cried after his first appearance.

Family Relationships (03:50)

Shandling's parents discuss how proud they are. Friends describe how Shandling did not attend Barry's funeral because his mother did not tell him his brother died.

Romantic Relationships (03:13)

Shandling used his romantic liaisons to inform his stand-up comedy. Watch excerpts where he discusses his private life. Dave Coulier describes Shandling's neuroses and insecurities when it came to women.

Stand-up Career Flourishes (04:51)

Shandling performed at Harrah's, Sahara, Caesar's Palace, and the Celebrity Room. The comedian meditated before each stand-up routine. Watch excerpts.

Management Guidance (03:11)

Shandling decided he wanted to host "The Tonight Show" and wrote journal excerpts describing how to succeed. Brad Grey reminisces about sharing the news. Saget and Coulier explain how Grey would treat the rising comedy stars.

Hosting "The Tonight Show" (06:37)

Shandling reminisces about hosting the television program for the first time. Nealon describes the comedian's personality. Roy London influenced Shandling's outlook on life and performance style.

Acting (03:38)

Watch outtakes from "The Garry Shandling Show." Paul Willson describes working with the comedian on "The Garry Shandling Show: 25th Anniversary Special.

"It's Garry Shandling's Show" (05:57)

Alan Zweibel describes how the pair formed to create the sitcom on Showtime. Colleagues reminisce about the television show that main character knew he was on a sitcom and frequently broke the fourth wall.

Parental Influences (05:13)

Muriel asked Shandling why he never joked about her. Irving is diagnosed with cancer. After he died, Muriel grew increasingly narcissistic; colleagues describe difficulties working with the comedian on "It's Garry Shandling's Show."

Filling in for Carson (06:41)

Leno and Shandling become the official guest hosts of "The Tonight Show." Watch excerpts from "Larry King," "Saturday Night Live," and subbing in for Carson. The comedian explains why he gave up the guest hosting position.

End of "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (04:04)

Colleagues describe difficulties leading up to the cancellation of the series. Shandling explains why he quit the show.

Searching for Love (04:40)

Linda Doucett describes their emotional relationship. Shandling hired Judd Apatow to write jokes for his Grammy's speech; the comedian changed every punchline.

End of the Relationship (07:39)

Shandling could not commit to Doucett. Zweibel describes how the comedian delayed his upcoming nuptials. Watch excerpts of stand-up about being engaged; Shandling decides to write "The Larry Sanders Show."

Credits: The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling-Part 1 (01:31)

Credits: The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling-Part 1

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Garry Shandling experienced a normal childhood in Tucson, AZ until age ten, when his older brother and only sibling, Barry, died from cystic fibrosis. His parents barely discussed Barry’s passing, and his mother began clinging to her younger son, developing an intense bond that would inspire much of Garry’s later comedy material. Shandling went to college to study engineering, but a chance encounter with George Carlin prompted an impulsive move to Los Angeles to pursue comedy. In 1976, Garry was involved in a serious traffic accident, resulting in a near-death experience that led Garry to explore meditation and Zen Buddhism. He began keeping diaries in 1977, writing, “Do it—you are ready, be a comedian. It is the real me. The secret is to be myself.” While writing for TV sitcoms and working the club circuit, Garry reached the pinnacle of standup success, making his first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1981. Realizing that one of his strengths as a standup was the ability to “talk to people,” he developed a show where he could talk directly to the audience—“a show that allows Garry to be Garry.” A decade ahead of its time, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show was the first modern “meta”-sitcom, which brought Shandling legions of fans and elevated his profile in the industry. He also met actress Linda Doucett, who became his fiancée, and they began building a new home. While producing Garry Shandling’s Show, Garry also guest-hosted The Tonight Show, and was rumored to be in the running to replace Carson. But the demands of a nightly show proved to be too much for Garry, and his perfectionism led to tension with his co-producers on Garry Shandling, which eventually was cancelled. Garry was uncertain what to do next—until he came up with the idea to do a show about a late-night talk show, The Larry Sanders Show.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: BVL148964

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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