I have been laid up for a week with barely enough energy to get up and change DVDs . . . So I finally found the time to watch my boxed set of the complete Larry Sanders Show. I’d forgotten how brilliant the show was. I think it’s the best sticom ever.
10. Timeless tackling of topical topics. Like the episode about O.J., which you can see a great clip from here.
9. Celebrities bringing their “real life” issues out on the show. I’m thinking mostly of Ellen Degeneris’ spot, in which she is so fed up with peoples’ speculation about her sexuality that she sleeps with Larry. Larry, guileless as ever, thinks this means she’s straight . . . Until he finds out that “lesbians can sleep with guys?!?” Or the one where Sean Penn talks to Larry about what a horrible actor Gary Shandling is.
8. Larry’s agent on Extra interviews: “They never edit out the crying. It’s the cum shot!”
7. It even had great music! The show interwove musical spots and storyline brilliantly, and spotlighted worthy performers like Warren Zevon, Shawn Colvin, The Butthole Surfers, Paul Westerberg–and many, many others.
6. David Duchovny’s willingness to play Larry’s gay crush. The show repeatedly got its big-named guests to take risks and cut loose–a testament to their talent.
5. Jon Stewart. He was young, he looked ridiculous, but his repeated role was to Larry what Joan Rivers was to Johnny Carson. Only in this one, Joan wins.
4. “Wow! He looks so young!” Getting to see folks like Vince Vaughn, Jeremy Piven, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Sarah Silverman, and Bob Odenkirk back when their stars were just beginning to rise.
3. Artie. Rip Torn in his greatest role of all time, the foul-mouthed producer who always knows how to handle Larry’s neuroses.
2. “Hey now!” Hank Kingsley. The oblivious, foul-mouthed, egomaniac-with-an-inferiority-complex sidekick with the greatest catch phrase ever, who is always willing to go to war with someone.
1. Gary Shandling is fearless. The show is so clearly him, all his fears, all the things he hates, and the one he clearly hates the most: People stopping him to ask for favors every time he enters a room, exemplified in scenes/storylines like: Larry being unable to run the gauntlet from his desk to his bathroom without running into sycophants and wannabes; his girlfriend, who was in love with, dropping him for the network exec who is out to kill his show; and, to beat all, Larry’s own psychiatrist asking him to shop a script for him.