“Garry told an audience, ‘Don’t worry, folks, you’re gonna feel good by comparison when I leave the stage.” That nugget comes from his fellow stand-up veteran Jim Carrey in this first look at The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, HBO’s 4 1/2-hour, two-part documentary about the comedy icon who died in 2016.
Directed by Shandling’s longtime friend Judd Apatow and described as epic in scope and intimate in detail, the project features conversations with more than 40 of Garry Shandling’s family and friends including James L. Brooks, Sacha Baron Cohen, David Coulier, Jon Favreau, Jay Leno, Kevin Nealon, Conan O’Brien, Bob Saget, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman. There’s also 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.
It also digs into Shandling’s adoption of Buddhism and his doomed business relationship with Brad Grey. Along the way, there are comedy-gold stand-up lines that explain why he always was a comic’s comic.
“Garry was always about topping his next thing,” we hear in the trailer. That explains the progression from the brilliant It’s Garry Shandling’s Show to the legendary The Larry Sanders Show, whose alumni include Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Janeane Garofalo, Jeremy Piven, Penny Johnson Jerald and Wallace Langham.
The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling airs March 26 and 27 on the premium cabler. Check out the trailer above, try not to alarm your co-worker neighbors with your laughter and tell us what you think.