The influential comic and star of one of the greatest shows in television history died today at age 66. R.I.P.
Shandling was offered and turned down a couple of offers to do his own late night show — including one to replace Letterman — and he was right. (The monologues that appeared on the show were 1)typical of the genre, and 2)almost always the least funny part.) Larry Sanders was a great show that remained consistently excellent to the end. Shandling’s title character was the neurotic straight man playing off two of the greatest comic creations the medium has ever seen — Jeffrey Tambor’s Hank Kingsley and Rip Torn’s Artie — along with crucial contributions from actors like Janeane Garofalo, Scott Thompson, Bob Odenkirk and and Wallace Langham. It was not only extremely funny, it was frequently wise about people who knew what the business they’ve chosen was doing to them and couldn’t resist. (“Fame as addiction” as Rick Perlstein put it on Facebook.) Coming just before HBO’s Golden Age — it apparently was a major influence on David Chase — it can’t be streamed legally right now, but you can get the whole series on DVD for 20 bucks.
I can’t figure out how to emded it, but this late dialogue with Jerry Seinfeld is very good, and poignant.