To celebrate the DVD release of the complete run of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, I had the very great pleasure of interviewing creator/writer/star Garry Shandling. He second TV series, the made-for-HBO The Larry Sanders Show, is one of my favorite television shows of all time. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show is a very different kind of show, less savagely satirical and show-biz savvy for one thing, but it is just as creative and self-aware. And just as funny.
Here’s a few excerpts:
“It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” was your first series, but more people are aware of your second series, “The Larry Sanders Show.” How do you see them within your career as a writer and performer?
Looking back on it, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” is really the beginning of just being funny. I look back on this and to me it almost looks like looking back at a college play that I did. But it’s very funny and you can see that it’s actually quite a different character than Larry Sanders. It was halfway through the last season of “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” that I realized that I wanted to do something that had more texture to it in terms of human behavior and that’s what sent me into “The Larry Sanders Show.” So I think this is the jumping off point of a lot of my creativity.
I watched the outtakes on the DVD set and I loved seeing how you kept the spirit of the show even in a flub. You would make the outtake an aside to the audience just like any other scene in the show.
Yeah, yeah, I noticed that, too. Don’t forget, it’s 22 years ago for me and so I look back on it as a part viewer, part writer, part actor. That happened all the time. We would constantly change lines because, again, the idea of the show was to be funny. There weren’t that many emotional underpinnings to the scenes so you could just play with the lines a lot more, and since there was a live audience there, I was doing two things. In between takes I would keep the audience alive and going so that they would be happy and enjoy it, and also so they would stay fresh for the taping of the next scene because an audience is really helpful in adding energy to the show. And thirdly, I enjoy the audience. I have a lot of fun playing to an audience.