Before the Internet, before reality TV, no one saw what television could be more humorously and with more vision than Garry Shandling. In 1986 Garry Shandling was poised to become a permanent guest host on Johnny Carsons The Tonight Show. Instead, he took a chance on an offer from fledgling cable network Showtime to create his own television series. No questions asked.
A surreal look at the daily life of a young single man who is a comedian, Its Garry Shandlings Show was not a typical sitcom: Shandling would break the fourth wall to include the studio audience and the viewers at home in on the actual making of the show. Experimenting with the sitcom form meant inviting the audience onto the set, playing with the passage of time and generally exploding the genre and making art of the debris.
Teaming up with Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel, the two men put on a fourth-grade play every week for four seasons. With a crew of talented young writers (including Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Al Jean, Michael Reiss, David Mirkin, who would go on to write Seinfeld and The Simpsons, and Ed Solomon, who wrote Men In Black), television history was made. Over the years, guest stars (playing themselves) included Tom Petty, Rob Reiner, Vanna White, Red Buttons, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Mull, Gilda Radner (in her last TV performance), Carl Reiner, Chevy Chase, Red Buttons, Jeff Goldblum, Don Cornelius, The Turtles, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and more.
From its unforgettable theme song to its closing credits, Its Garry Shandlings Show was award-winning, mind-bending television for four seasons, and its influence is clearly seen in the best TV comedies through the decades to follow.