It’s Garry’s Show
Being allowed the opportunity to wander deep into the mind and career of a living comedy icon is an audacious task that can be easily fumbled. Yet Amy Wallace's August 2010 profile of Garry Shandling still holds true as testament to the affect he has had on standup as a craft and on the comedy industry as a whole.
For the past five years especially, the 60-year-old comic, who counts both George Carlin and Johnny Carson as mentors, has devoted himself to mentoring others. A generation of people at the top creative rungs of Hollywood credit Shandling with shaping both their material and their careers.
Not everybody begins on top. Garry once drove two hours to a George Carlin show to ask the comic to review some bits he wrote:
After that night's show, Shandling recalls, “he takes me into the back room, which is like the clubs where I work now, and there's my material on his little table with marks on it.” Carlin walked him through the twenty or so pages one at a time, and then he said, “You're very green, but there's something funny on each page.” Very earnestly Carlin added: “If you're thinking of pursuing this, I would.”
Both of his landmark shows, It's Garry Shandling's Show and the truly extraordinary The Larry Sander's Show, paved the roads for some of TV's biggest hits like Seinfeld, The Office, and 30 Rock. You won't find another living comedian who has constructed the under-pinnings of the current state of American comedy as fully as Mr. Shandling.
Apatow says the main lesson Shandling taught him on Sanders was that the curtain that separated backstage from onstage was just a metaphor for how we all hide our true selves. “He always talked about how it's incredibly rare for people to say what they mean. People are lying a great deal of the time.” That was the root of the show's humor, Apatow says: the disconnect between “what people are trying to project versus what they're actually feeling.”
Read the profile on GQ.com here. You'll be glad you did.