Penguin Random House

How Garry Shandling used Larry Sanders to tell the story of human beings

November 11, 2019

The following is an excerpt from It’s Garry Shandling’s Book, edited and introduced by Judd Apatow. The book features never-before-seen journal entries and photos, as well as essays and contributions from various beloved comics and celebrities, charting the life of the late comedy icon. This section of the book includes behind-the-scenes photos and original journal entries by Shandling concerning the making of The Larry Sanders Show, his Emmy-winning HBO series. Read on below. It’s Garry Shandling’s Book publishes Tuesday and is available for pre-order.

GARRY SHANDLING: There was an episode we did on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show where Garry goes on a morning talk show. And I thought, Man, there’s a story about the people who host this show that I know. And I always had that in the back: There’s another show here about the person who hosts the show.

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And at that juncture I was offered two other late-night hosting jobs. Because Letterman had already gone. So those spots at different times came open. The CBS one was interesting to me because I respected Letterman. I had to really consider if I wanted to do a talk show. Again, I had the opportunity. That was a big decision because the CBS offer was an actually big financial offer. And my girlfriend at the time said, “Take the money. Take the money. Take the money. Take the money. . . . Take the money.”

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I called Roy London up and I said, “Roy, I have to make a decision here. Is there a way that I can learn about myself and the world and people and what this is all really about and get down into that shit and the essence of people’s lives and how they cover it . . . on a talk show? Or can I do it on a 1992 show about a guy who hosts a talk show?” And then we started to talk about the guy who hosted the talk show and realized that it isn’t about a guy who hosts a talk show. It’s the ability to have that world within which you could tell the story of human beings.

And so it was never about a guy who hosts a talk show. That show really became a lab for a study of human behavior.

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