Garry Shandling joins me in a restaurant, to interview me for a job on The Larry Sanders Show. He is clearly low energy.
”Sorry I’m a little down,” he apologizes. “I broke up with my girlfriend.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I commiserate. “When did it happen?”
“Seven months ago,” Shandling replies.
We’re in the Writers’ Room, struggling with a script badly in need of repair. As is his habit, Garry pitches in with the writers, as always, probing, insightful and inspiring. He may not have all the answers, but his questions brilliantly illuminate the way.
We’ve been at it for hours, making progress, but it’s slow. Suddenly, Garry jumps up.
“I just remembered. There’s this woman coming to give me a massage. I have to go.”
Garry races to the door.
“You know, the script is in trouble. I really should stay and help.”
Garry starts back to his seat.
“Although… I mean, I made this appointment. It really wouldn’t be right to stand her up, would it?”
Garry starts back towards the door.
“Wait a minute. I can’t leave you guys in the lurch. What the hell was I thinking?”
Garry turns back to his seat.
“I don’t know. The woman drove all the way from Beverly Hills. She cancelled her afternoon appointments. I don’t think I can do this to her.”
Garry starts towards the door.
“No! The script comes first!”
This is clearly not over. Garry hovers helplessly by the door, a good man wracked by an agonizing dilemma - to work, or to get a massage. In a quiet voice, weakened by a titanic inner struggle, Garry finally renders his decision.
“I’m going to go.”
You want to know about the genius of Garry Shandling, about his penetrating understanding of neurotic humanity, about the near invisible line between his everyday life and material for the show? I don’t need to write about that.
Everything’s there, in those two stories.