PERFORMING ARTS

It’s Garry Shandling’s Book

Random. Nov. 2019. 472p. ed. by ed. by Judd Apatow. photos. ISBN 9780525510840. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780525510857. TV
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Growing up in Tucson, actor, writer, and comedian Garry Shandling (1949–2016) didn’t aspire to become a performer, though he always loved writing humor. At 19, he worked up the courage to show comedian George Carlin his work and, buoyed by Carlin’s notes, moved to Los Angeles to pursue writing and, eventually, stand-up comedy. Shandling paid Carlin’s favor forward by mentoring writers and comics for decades. Filmmaker Apatow (The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling) continues honoring his mentor with this affecting book that intersperses Shandling’s letters, journal entries, and scripts with remembrances from friends and colleagues. The result is a compulsively readable narrative of Shandling’s evolution from sitcom writer to creator and star of The Larry Sanders Show.
VERDICT It’s fitting that a comic whose best-known role deconstructed the late night talk show host should have a book that obsessively deconstructs him. Shandling’s determination to pursue authenticity through his work will appeal to comedy fans and mindfulness practitioners. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/19.]
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