The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling


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.

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