Tag Archives: University of Arizona

Jew of the Week: Garry Shandling

Shandling at the Emmy's (Credit: Alan Light)

Shandling at the Emmy’s (Credit: Alan Light)

Garry Shandling (1949-2016) was born in Chicago and grew up in Tucson. He studied electrical engineering, marketing, and creative writing at the University of Arizona. While working for an ad agency in Los Angeles, Shandling wrote a script for the TV show Sanford and Son, and sold it to NBC. This started a long and prosperous script-writing career. Several years later, Shandling got into a tragic car accident that almost killed him, yet ended up inspiring him to become a comedian. He performed his first stand-up act at LA’s famous comedy club, The Comedy Store. Soon, Shandling would make a guest appearance on The Tonight Show, and become its guest host, filling in when host Johnny Carson was away. In 1985, Shandling created a revolutionary sitcom, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, where the characters on screen are aware that they are actors in a TV show, and even interact with the audience. The show won multiple awards, including a ‘Funniest Male Performance’ for Shandling. In 1992, Shandling created an even more popular program, a mock talk show called The Larry Sanders Show. This show earned 56 Emmy nominations, revived HBO, and is often credited with inspiring Entourage, 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Many comedians and writers (including Judd Apatow) started out working on this program, which has been ranked among the greatest shows of all time by the likes of TV Guide and TIME Magazine. Shandling helped countless younger comedians refine their art, Sacha Baron Cohen among them. Aside from television, Shandling appeared in 17 films, including voicing a character in the upcoming The Jungle Book. Sadly, Shandling passed away last week after suffering a heart attack. Fellow comedian Jeffrey Tambor said of him: “He redesigned the wheel of comedy and was the kindest and funniest of geniuses.”

Words of the Week

“I sold my house this week. I got a pretty good price for it, but it made my landlord mad as hell.”

“I remember learning to drive on my dad’s lap. Did you guys ever do that? He’d work the brakes. I’d work the wheel. Then I went to take the driver’s test and sat on the examiner’s lap. I failed the exam. But he still writes to me. That’s the really nice part.”

– Garry Shandling