R.I.P. Gary Shandling

The Larry Sanders Show - The best lines of Artie

Mr Larry Sanders.

The US comedian, writer and actor, probably best known for “The Larry Sanders Show” has died aged 66.

The BBC showed Shandling’s original TV show “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” back in the late 80s. It was good, while not being “Cheers” or “Taxi”.

Then in the 90s they used to put on a double bill of “Seinfeld” and “The Larry Sanders Show”. It was great, both of them were.

Like those other two mentioned above it showed how good US TV comedy can be when it’s done right. When it’s not sentimentalised pap but sniping, vicious, savage, crude and nasty.

Of course because the Beeb put them on late at night, after Newsnight, and on BBC2, viewing figures weren’t crash hot – even though most only had four channels so many found it hard to press 2 on the remote. Then they started buggering about with scheduling and eventually lost interest in shows that were far smarter, sharper and just plain better than most of their twee comedy output of the time.

“The Larry Sanders Show” was one of the great comedies. Great writing to produce great characters from the narcissistic eponymous Sanders played by Shanlding to the big dolt Hey Now Hank Kingsley – played by Jeffrey Tambor – to Rip Torn’s Arthur, Artie. One of the great TV characters…

And it was talking to Artie that Larry came out with my favourite quote, one used many times since…

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