Directed by Judd Apatow, the two part documentary airs its first part on July 2nd.
MIAMI, FL., June 27, 2018 - When Garry Shandling passed away in 2016, he was widely remembered as a top stand-up comic and the star of two of the most innovative sitcoms in TV history. But to those who knew him, the “real” Garry Shandling was a far more complex person. Now, Apatow has created a remarkable portrait of this iconic comedian in the four-and-a-half-hour documentary THE ZEN DIARIES OF GARRY SHANDLING, which debuts in two parts Monday, July 2 (21hrs*) and Tuesday, July 3 (21hrs*) on HBO and HBO GO.
From childhood tragedy to heartbreak, professional betrayal and unexpected physical trauma, to his emergence as a powerful teacher, friend and guiding spirit for a new generation of talent, Apatow’s documentary not only chronicles one man’s ability to survive the ups and downs of a life in show business, but also offers a profound investigation into the power of comedy to elevate the human spirit.
Shandling made the leap from the pinnacle of stand-up success, appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, to develop his comic persona into something that would redefine television comedy. Realizing that one of his strengths as a standup was simply the ability to “talk to people,” he created a show where talking to the audience was the central focus. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show was a decade ahead of its time, the first modern “meta”-sitcom that brought him a new legion of devoted fans and elevated his profile in the industry. He also met Linda Doucett on the show, who later became his fiancée.
Part two of THE ZEN DIARIES OF GARRY SHANDLING offers an extensive examination of THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, his landmark HBO comedy series. Colleagues remember the demands of producing material that met Shandling’s high standards, while his diaries reveal an ongoing struggle with complacency and search for authenticity. The impact of LARRY SANDERS was immeasurable.
Epic in scope and intimate in detail, THE ZEN DIARIES OF GARRY SHANDLING features conversations with more than 40 of Shandling’s family and friends, including James L. Brooks, Jim Carrey, Sacha Baron Cohen, David Coulier, Jon Favreau, Jay Leno, Kevin Nealon, Conan O’Brien, Bob Saget, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman, and four decades’ worth of TV appearances, along with personal journals, private letters and candid home audio and video footage that reveal his brilliant mind and restless soul.
As his friends say farewell and some of Shandling’s most personal, heartfelt letters and thoughts are shared, Apatow’s documentary, like its subject, transcends easy definition, being at once hilarious, sad, fascinating and, above all, completely authentic.