Mar 25, 2016

Garry Shandling, Comic Genius, Dies at 66

Garry Shandling died at 66 yesterday and his brand of comedy eludes description, (Keepnews, NYT).

"Well, I could call my good friend, Lenny Kravitz. He's only half-urban," said the fictional talk show producer, Artie, in the hilarious Larry Sanders Show, (HBO, 1992-1998), Shandling's unique comedy show for which he was best known.

Artie refers to the fictional network's concern that the guest rap group, Wu-Tang Clan, is too black and scary for small-town, white America in the Midwest, so the Show needs another musical guest on short notice.

Shandling's character is the late-night talk show host often on vacation and usually wracked with anxiety to deal with such matters, in the above episode fortunate that the guest host, Jon Stewart, was the one pushing the limits.

Shandling surrounded himself with talent on the Larry Sanders Show with recurring characters played by Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Silverman, Jeremy Piven, Janeane Garofalo and Mary Lynn Rajskub, among others.

Somehow, some way, Shandling orchestrated cameo appearances and an ensemble, fast-moving fictional talk show revolving around a self-centered, insincere and insecure Larry Sanders that left audiences laughing with a humanistic sub-text that a viewer felt but could not explain.

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