Skip to main content

Shandling, Garry 1949-

SHANDLING, Garry 1949-

PERSONAL: Born November 29, 1949, in Chicago, IL; son of Irving (a print shop owner) and Muriel (a pet-store proprietor) Shandling. Education: Attended University of Arizona at Tucson.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

CAREER: Actor and comedian. Actor in television series, including It's Garry Shandling's Show, Showtime, then Fox, 1986-90; and (as title role) The Larry Sanders Show, Home Box Office (HBO), 1992-98. Appeared in television specials, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: 19th Anniversary Special, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1981; Garry Shandling—Alone in Las Vegas, Showtime, 1984; The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: 23rd Anniversary Special, NBC, 1985; Joan Rivers and Friends Salute Heidi Abromowitz, 1985; (as host) "It's Garry Shandling's Show—25th Anniversary Special," Showtime Comedy Spotlight, Showtime, 1986; Disneyland's Summer Vacation Party, NBC, 1986; Comic Relief, HBO, 1986; Caesar's 20th Birthday Celebration, Showtime, 1987; The Comedy Store 15th Year Class Reunion (also known as Class Reunion and Comedy Store Reunion), NBC, 1988; Merrill Markoe's Guide to Glamorous Living, Cinemax Comedy Experiment, Cinemax, 1988; The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: 26th Anniversary Special, NBC, 1988; A Comedy Celebration: The Comedy and Magic Club's 10th Anniversary, Showtime, 1989; Comic Relief III, HBO, 1989; Sunday Night with Larry King, NBC, 1990; "Garry Shandling: Stand Up," HBO Comedy Hour, HBO, 1991; Alan King: Inside the Comedy Mind, 1991; American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special, 1992; Comic Relief V, HBO, 1992; HBO's 20th Anniversary—We Hardly Believe It Ourselves, HBO, 1992; The Comedy Store's 20th Birthday, 1992; Bob Hope: The First Ninety Years, NBC, 1993; Comic Relief VI, HBO, 1994; (as host) The 1995 Young Comedians Show Hosted by Garry Shandling, HBO, 1995; Twenty Years of Comedy on HBO, HBO, 1995; A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman, NBC, 1995; The Late Show with David Letterman Video Special II, CBS, 1996; (as host) Hollywood Salutes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Turner Network Television (TNT), 1998; Intimate Portrait: Brett Butler, Lifetime, 1998; Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time, HBO, 1998; Influences: From Yesterday to Today, CBS, 1999.

Appeared at awards presentations, including The 39th Annual Emmy Awards, Fox, 1987; The 40th Annual Emmy Awards, Fox, 1988; The Second Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1988; (as host) The 32nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1990; (as host) The 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1991; (as presenter) The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1992; (as presenter) The 14th Annual CableACE Awards, 1993; (as host) The 35th Annual Grammy Awards, 1993; (as presenter) The 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1993; (as presenter) The American Television Awards, ABC, 1993; (as presenter) The 15th Annual CableACE Awards, 1994; (as host) The 36th Annual Grammy Awards, 1994; (as presenter) The 46th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1994; (as presenter) The 47th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1995; (as presenter) The 1996 Emmy Awards, 1996; (as presenter) The 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1997; The 12th Annual American Comedy Awards, 1998; (as presenter) The 50th Emmy Awards, 1998; Screen Actors Guild 4th Annual Awards, 1998; (as presenter) The 51st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1999; and (as host) The 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 2000.

Guest star on television shows, including "Premier Episode," The Ben Stiller Show, 1992; "Episode with Garry Shandling," The Ben Stiller Show, 1992; (as Dr. Katz) Professional Therapist, Comedy Central, 1996; (as former patient) "Caroline and the Marriage Counselor: Part 1," Caroline in the City, NBC, 1998; "Hollywood A.D.," The X-Files, Fox, 2000; and Dinner for Five, Independent Film Channel, 2001; also appeared in episodes of Tonight Show (as guest host) and Late Night with David Letterman. Also appeared in Michael Nesmith in Television Parts (pilot), NBC, 1985; and (as Jack) Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme (movie), The Disney Channel, 1990.

Executive producer (with others) and creator of series It's Garry Shandling's Show, Showtime, then Fox, 1986-90; creator, executive producer, and director of series The Larry Sanders Show, HBO, 1992-98. Producer of special Garry Shandling—Alone in Las Vegas, Showtime, 1984. Executive producer, "It's Garry Shandling's Show—25th Anniversary Special," Showtime Comedy Spotlight, Showtime, 1986, and "Garry Shandling: Stand Up," HBO Comedy Hour, HBO, 1991.

Actor in films, including Doctor Duck's Super Secret All-Purpose Sauce, 1985; (as patient) The Night We Never Met, 1993; (as Kip DeMay) Love Affair, 1994; (as Stanley Tannenbaum) Mixed Nuts (also known as Lifesavers), 1994; (as voice of male pigeon) Doctor Doolittle, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1998; (as Artie) Hurlyburly, Fine Line Features, 1998; (as Harold Anderson; also producer) What Planet Are You From?, Columbia, 2000; (as Griffin) Town and Country, New Line Cinema, 2001; (voice) Tusker, 2003; and (voice of Verne) Over the Hedge, in production.

AWARDS, HONORS: CableACE awards include best comedy show, 1992-96, and best actor award, 1996, all for The Larry Sanders Show.

WRITINGS:

TELEVISION SERIES

(And lyricist, composer of theme song, and executive producer) It's Garry Shandling's Show, Showtime, then Fox, 1986-90.

(And executive producer) The Larry Sanders Show, 1992-98.

Writer for television series Sanford and Son, Three's Company, and Welcome Back, Kotter.

TELEVISION SPECIALS

Garry Shandling—Alone in Las Vegas, Showtime, 1984.

It's Garry Shandling's Show—25th Anniversary Special, Showtime, 1986.

"Garry Shandling: Stand Up," HBO Comedy Hour, Home Box Office, 1991.

(With others) The 35th Annual Grammy Awards, 1993.

(With others) The 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 2000.

OTHER

(With David Rensin) Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host: The Autobiography of Larry Sanders, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Michael Leeson, Ed Solomon, and Peter Tolan) What Planet Are You From? (screenplay), Columbia, 2000.

SIDELIGHTS: Comedian Garry Shandling has made a career out of making fun of his chosen industry, show business. He enjoyed comedy as a child growing up in Tucson, Arizona, but did not consider it as a career until he was in college, studying electrical engineering and marketing and writing jokes instead of notes in his notebooks during class. When he showed some of this material to comedian George Carlin after one of Carlin's shows in Phoenix, Carlin encouraged him to give show business a try.

Shandling moved to Los Angeles and wrote for the popular sitcoms Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter for a few years before stepping out and performing himself. He started with stand-up, but his first big break came when one of his mentors, Johnny Carson, began to use him as a frequent guest-host of The Tonight Show. In 1986 Shandling began his own show, the sitcom It's Garry Shandling's Show, and gave up his Tonight Show role. It's Garry Shandling's Show was a meta-sitcom, which closely paralleled Shandling's own life and often featured Shandling turning and speaking to the camera or interacting with the studio audience.

Shandling's biggest hit, however, was The Larry Sanders Show, another meta-program. In this case, the target was the late-night talk show industry, which Shandling knew from the inside from his work on The Tonight Show. The Larry Sanders show debuted during the "talk show wars," a period of upheaval that included Johnny Carson's retirement and several other late-night line-up shake-ups, which gave Shandling much material to parody. The show featured Shandling as Larry Sanders, a late-night talk-show host; episodes were split between the fictional Larry Sanders talk show and behind-the-scenes stories about Sander's life off screen. Real life celebrities, including Carol Channing and David Duchovny, appeared on The Larry Sanders Show as guests. Life on the set of the fictional Sanders' talk show "is all tension, cynicism, profound shallowness, and naughty-boy bonding. It's just the way you imagine life behind a big-time TV talk show to be, except infinitely funnier," Ken Tucker wrote in Entertainment Weekly.

After The Larry Sanders Show ended, Shandling cashed in on his alter-ego's fame by publishing Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host: The Autobiography of Larry Sanders. "Fans should appreciate this extension of Sander's edgy lunacy," a reviewer commented in Publishers Weekly, although Ilene Cooper noted in Booklist that "those who don't know The Larry Sanders Show won't have a clue about what's going on here."

Shandling also helped write and starred in What Planet Are You From?, "a sweetly goofy cosmic comedy in which the battle between the sexes goes intergalactic," a reviewer wrote in People Weekly. Shandling plays an alien who must mate with an Earth woman as part of his planet's plan to take over the world, but first he must learn how to romance the female of the human species.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 36, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Newsmakers 1995, Issue 4, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host: The Autobiography of Larry Sanders, p. 452.

Business Wire, August 27, 2001, review of Dinner for Five, p. 2078.

Chatelaine, June, 1993, Johanna Schneller, review of The Larry Sanders Show, p. 12.

Entertainment Weekly, August 14, 1992, Lisa Schwarzbaum, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 44-46; August 28, 1992, Joe Rhodes, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 28-30; June 4, 1993, Bruce Fretts, interview with Shandling, pp. 26-30, Ken Tucker, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 40-41; June 24, 1994, Ken Tucker, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 88-89; July 21, 1995, Ken Tucker, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 51-52; September 8, 1995, Bret Watson, "Alter Egoism," p. 12; August 15, 1997, Joe Flint, "A Sanders Shuffle?," p. 53; February 6, 1998, Joe Flint, "Hey, Now!," p. 16; May 22, 1998, interview with Shandling, p. 34; November 27, 1998, Bruce Fretts, review of Confessions of a Late-Night Talk Show Host, p. 72; March 10, 2000, Owen Gleiberman, "Cosmos Guy: As the Horny Alien of What Planet Are You From?, Garry Shandling Really Has a Rocket in His Pocket," p. 46; March 1, 2002, Mark Harris, review of The Larry Sanders Show (DVD), p. 59.

Interview, March, 2000, Elizabeth Richardson, review of What Planet Are You From?, p. 110.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, June 10, 1994, Gail Shister, "Like his Larry Sanders Character, Shandling Would Love to Drop Out," p. 0610K1085.

Los Angeles Magazine, August, 1994, R. Daniel Foster, interview with Shandling, pp. 26-29.

Maclean's, November 23, 1998, review of Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host, p. 26.

Nation, March 27, 2000, Stuart Klawans, review of What Planet Are You From?, p. 34.

National Review, April 3, 2000, John Simon, review of What Planet Are You From?

New Republic, September 5, 1988, Noam Cohen, "Meta-musings: The Self-reference Craze," pp. 17-19; March 27, 2000, Stanley Kauffmann, review of What Planet Are You From?, p. 26.

Newsweek, April 6, 1998, Joshua Hammer, profile of Shandling, p. 59; March 6, 2000, David Ansen, review of What planet Are You From?, p. 68.

People, July 21, 1986, Tim Allis, "Johnny Carson and Joan Rivers Can Agree on One Thing: Garry Shandling Is Perfect for Her Old Tonight Show Job," pp. 77-78; September 15, 1986, Jeff Jarvis, review of It's Garry Shandling's Show, p. 21; June 10, 1991, David Hiltbrand, review of Garry Shandling; Stand-Up, pp. 14-15; August 17, 1992, Craig Tomashoff, review of The Larry Sanders Show, p. 10; September 21, 1992, Tom Gliatto, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 143-145; May 10, 1993, Mitchell Fink, "With Friends like This … ," p. 33; June 27, 1994, David Hiltbrand, review of The Larry Sanders Show, p. 10; August 15, 1994, Mary Huzinec, "He Shoots, He Scores!," p. 86; October 28, 1994, Lois Alter Mark, "This Buddy's for You," p. 69; February 6, 1995, Mitchell Fink, "Seven-Year Itch?," p. 35; January 15, 1996, "Not So Funny: Garry Shandling's Ex-lover Accuses Him of Sexual Harassment," p. 75; November 11, 1996, Craig Tomashoff, "Talking … with Gary Shandling," p. 18; December 9, 1996, Elaine Showalter, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 20-21; June 1, 1998, review of The Larry Sanders Show, p. 25; December 7, 1998, Mike Lipton, review of Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host, p. 43; March 13, 2000, review of What Planet Are You From?, p. 39; March 20, 2000, Chuck Arnold, "Earth Girls Aren't Easy," p. 146.

Publishers Weekly, October 19, 1998, review of Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host, p. 62.

Saturday Night, September, 1996, Mark Kingwell, review of The Larry Sanders Show, pp. 107-108.

Time, April 27, 1987, Richard Zoglin, review of It's Garry Shandling's Show, pp. 88-89; August 17, 1992, review of The Larry Sanders Show, p. 69; January 8, 1996, Belinda Luscombe, "Get Me a Rewrite!," p. 77; July 12, 1999, Kim Masters, "Forget the Lawsuit, the Movie Must Go On," p. 18; March 6, 2000, Richard Schickel, review of What Planet Are You From?, p. 72.

Variety, February 28, 2000, Todd McCarthy, review of What Planet Are You From?, p. 39.

ONLINE

Museum of Broadcast Communications Web site,http://www.museum.tv/ (May 12, 2003), review of It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show.*

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Shandling, Garry 1949-." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Shandling, Garry 1949-." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/shandling-garry-1949

"Shandling, Garry 1949-." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved November 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/shandling-garry-1949

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.