Garry Shandling Returns to the Show

September 28, 2010
Photo: The Howard Stern Show

Garry Shandling called in to catch up with the crew and promote the DVD releases of ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘The Larry Sanders Show.’ Howard told Garry he regretted not putting more effort into his ‘Larry Sanders’ appearance, so Garry laughed: “It’s a little late to take it out of the DVD.”

Asked why he’d ended the show, Garry confessed: “It was six years, and you know, and you know, you were there…it was really a lot of work…once it bored me, I sort of moved on. I felt the show had creatively peaked.” Howard wondered how Garry–a very rich man–stayed so grounded, so Garry said Regis Philbin recently asked him similar question.

When Garry answered (“It’s easy. I go off TV.”), Regis didn’t understand: “He didn’t follow that.” Garry said he rarely found women with the same mindset: “It’s very hard to find a woman in LA where it would be peaceful…I just can’t have any disorder or any chaos because there’s enough going on. I just can’t bring somebody in.”

On Conan and ‘The Tonight Show’

Howard asked Garry about reports that he’d counseled Conan O’Brien after his ‘Tonight Show’ misfire, but Garry denied it: “No, I just ran into him [in Hawaii]…we talked like friends.” Garry told Howard he could understand Conan’s dilemma: “He needs to be completely free–I think you’ve experienced that…there was never a moment there where he could feel like himself and still grow.” Garry said part of the problem was the network’s timetable for success: “I don’t think anybody feels completely free when you’re doing a network show against Letterman and they’re looking at numbers…there’s still a box there.” Garry remembered how hard it was to turn down ‘The Tonight Show’ hosting gig himself: “I went to the very last second to make my decision.”

Hollywood Regrets

Robin wondered if Garry–like Conan–had ever said yes to a project when he should’ve said no, but Garry was hesitant to name any specific projects: “I’ve ended up in awkward situations where I was committed to something I really didn’t believe in.”

Garry later listed just one project he regretted: “Town & Country”

Oh ‘Hey Now’

Howard credited Garry for originating the ‘Hey now’ catchphrase that is used every day on the Stern Show, so Garry explained that it was one of the first scenes he’d written for ‘The Larry Sanders Show’: “That was our audition scene we used. That’s how we found Jeffrey Tambor.” Garry said he held the scene until the second season because “you had to know them before you could see them have an argument like that.” The crew then listened to audio from the scene, and Garry said he was still proud of the timing–particularly Jeffrey’s: “You can hear him doing his work.”

On George Carlin and Mel Gibson

Garry said he’d gone to Hollywood because of George Carlin–Garry had approached him with a few pages of jokes, and George had graciously gone over them: “When I was 19. The man literally read the stuff and had notes on every page. He said, ‘You’re very green, but I think there’s something funny on every page. If you want to move forward with this, I think you should.’ That’s what really sent me to Los Angeles from Arizona.”

Garry said he later told the story when presenting George with an award, and George’s acceptance speech began with his usual wit: “He said, ‘First of all, I’m sorry for encouraging Garry.'”

Before he hung up, Robin asked if Garry would still be willing to work with Mel Gibson, and Garry said he would, joking: “Half of that stuff on those tapes is from Rickles’ Vegas act.” Howard referenced Mel’s infamous anti-Semitic streak: “You think he looks at you and thinks, ‘Oh, look at that Jew’?” Garry laughed: “I think most people do.”