By Sean Tuohy
Longtime comedian, director, and writer Garry Shandling died yesterday at the age of 66. His more than 40 years of entertainment will never be forgotten. From his work on sitcoms in the early 1970s to his groundbreaking television program “The Larry Sanders Show,” which laid the groundwork for smash shows such as “Arrested Development” and “30 Rock,” Shandling was a TV pioneer and master. With his self-deprecating humor and witty comebacks, Shandling was hands down one of the best stand up to watch.
Shandling started writing on “Sanford and Son” and produced four episodes. However, as his career was taking off, Shandling suffered a near fatal car crash. Most folks would have tried to find some comfort after this, but Shandling quit his successful job as a writer and started working as a stand-up comedian. He slaved, and slayed, on the stand-up circuit for a decade.
In 1992, Shandling teamed with writer Dennis Klein to produce the critically acclaimed TV series “The Larry Sanders Show,” a show within a show. Shandling played the eponymous late night talk show host who had to balance the demands of his insane guests with the antics of his equally demented staff. The show was the first cable-based program to receive an Emmy for Best Comedy and was also the directorial debut of Judd Apatow. Until it went off the air in 1998, “The Larry Sanders Show” was one of HBO’s most beloved shows.