It's Garry Shandling's Show

It's Garry Shandling's Show Information

It's Garry Shandling's Show is an American sitcom which was initially broadcast on Showtime from 1986 to 1990. It was created by Garry Shandling and Alan Zweibel. The show is notable for its frequent use of breaking the fourth wall to allow characters to speak directly to the audience. Its format inspired Sean Hughes to create Sean's Show in the UK.


The 30 minute series stars Garry Shandling as, more or less, himself: a neurotic, somewhat self-obsessed stand-up comedian, who just happens to be aware he is a TV sitcom character. Garry spends just as much time interacting with the studio audience as he does the regular cast members, offering up opening monologues and show-closing summations of the episode's events (much like George Burns on The Burns and Allen Show). On Garry's show, however, all the supporting characters know they are on a TV show, not just Garry; and the studio audience is often in the storyline. In one episode, Garry invites them to make themselves at home after he leaves the scene (they end up throwing a raucous party); in another, a surprise birthday party for Garry's mother goes awry when the audience's shout of "Surprise!" causes her to have a heart attack. In a memorable episode, Garry moves out of town, with his apartment (and show) taken over by Red Buttons; when Garry tries to return, his friends admit they like Red better.

At the time of the show's production, Garry Shandling actually lived in Sherman Oaks, CA, just like the character on the TV show. His condominium on the show was styled to be just like his real-life condo, down to the room layout and the furnishings.

Storylines were often manipulated by Shandling to create more favorable outcomes, or simply to speed things along (one episode ended years later, for example). On America's presidential election night in 1988, Showtime presented a live episode wherein Shandling brought in Soul Train host Don Cornelius to incorrectly announce that Michael Dukakis had soundly defeated George H. W. Bush.

The show's bouncy, well-remembered theme song was "This is the Theme to Garry's Show", sung by Los Angeles musician Bill Lynch. The song's lyrics are self-referencing, explaining how the song came to be ("Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song") and asking what the listener thinks of it.

Considered a critical and niche success, It's Garry Shandling's Show ran 72 episodes and was on the air for four seasons (1986"1990). The show was later picked up by Fox Broadcasting Company from 1988 to 1990 as part of its Sunday night lineup; Fox began airing the show from the beginning, but due to longer seasons for network shows versus cable, had caught up by the time the show left Fox in March 1990. New episodes continued for a few months thereafter on Showtime. The show introduced much of the country to Shandling and paved the way for his more successful run as late-night talk show host Larry Sanders on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show.


Throughout the series, the cast was divided into the "Starring" cast, whose names were featured in the opening credits; the "Co-Starring" cast and the "Guest Starring" cast, both of which had the actors' names featured in the end credits.


  • Garry Shandling as Garry Shandling - Immature star/host of the show. Constantly obsessed with his hair.
  • Geoffrey Blake as Lewis (early season 1) - Garry's ladies' man friend. Dropped from the series after the first run of six episodes.
  • Molly Cheek as Nancy Bancroft - Garry's "attractive but nonthreatening platonic neighbor."
  • Jessica Harper as Phoebe Bass (season 4) - Garry's girlfriend and eventual wife.
  • Scott Nemes as Grant Schumacher - Garry's neighbor, teenage son of Pete and Jackie Schumacher.
  • Michael Tucci as Pete Schumacher - Garry's close friend and neighbor. Father of Grant and husband of Jackie. Very nerdy and clumsy. Leads his son's Cub Scout troop.


  • Bernadette Birkett as Jackie Schumacher (mid-season 1 through season 4, recurring guest early season 1) - Garry's neighbor, Pete's wife and Grant's mother.
  • Ian Buchanan as Ian McFyfer (mid-season 3 through season 4, recurring guest early season 3) - Nancy's boyfriend and eventual husband.
  • Barbara Cason as Ruth Shandling (seasons 2-4, recurring guest season 1) - Garry's mother.
  • Paul Willson as Leonard Smith (mid-season 1 through season 4, recurring guest early season 1) - The president of the condo association that Garry lives in. Who frequently drops by uninvited so that he can end up on-camera on Garry's show. He is a nuisance to Garry and his friends.

Recurring guest stars

  • Bruno Kirby as Brad Brillnick (seasons 3-4) - Garry's agent.
  • Richard Fancy as Mr. Stravely (seasons 3-4) - network boss.
  • Roy Brocksmith as Mr. Guest (seasons 3-4)
  • Chi Ngo as Kim Moon (seasons 3-4)
  • Danny Dayton as Mr. Peck (seasons 2-3) - Comedy club owner.
  • Rob Reiner (seasons 1-3), Tom Petty (seasons 2-3), and Martin Mull (seasons 3-4) as themselves
While fighting ovarian cancer, Gilda Radner guest-starred as herself on the show in 1988 in what would be her final television appearance. When Shandling asked her why she had not been seen on television for a while, Radner replied, "Oh, I had cancer. What did you have?"


The show was created and written by Garry Shandling and Alan Zweibel. Shandling wrote 15 episodes of the show. Garry, Alan and Garry's manager Brad Grey were the executive producers of the show.

Broadcast history

In the U.S., the show aired on Showtime: The first season aired on Wednesdays and the rest of the series aired on Sundays. The show was originally picked up for six episodes. After the success of them, Showtime ordered 12 more (although only 10 were produced).

Subsequent seasons had differing numbers of episodes.

To bolster its Sunday night lineup, FOX secured the rights to air reruns of It's Garry's Shandling's Show not long after they aired on Showtime, so all of America could see what the fuss was about. The reruns aired Sundays on FOX at 9:00-9:30 from March 1988 to July 1989, at 9:30-10:00 in July 1989, at 10:00-10:30 from July to August 1989 and at 10:30-11:00 from August 1989-March 1990.


Season Episodes Premiere Date End Date
1 16 September 10, 1986 April 10, 1987
2 17 October 25, 1987 March 18, 1988
3 20 October 21, 1988 April 21, 1989
4 19 November 10, 1989 May 25, 1990


Seasons 1 and 2 of the show were aired in the UK on BBC2 over three series from 1987 to 1990. The airdates did not follow the original episode sequence. An initial season of 10 episodes aired on Sunday nights at 18:50 BST from 5 July-20 September 1987. Two further episodes were aired on 19 November and 3 December, 1987. A second season of 8 episodes, drawn from the end of series 1 and the beginning of series 2 was shown on Tuesday nights at around 22:20 BST from 31 May-2 August 1988. A Christmas special was shown on Christmas Eve 1989, preceding a third and final season, returned to Sunday nights at 18:10 GMT, which ran 18 February-15 April 1990.

Season Episodes Premiere Date End Date
1 10 5 July, 1987 20 September, 1987
# 2 19 November, 1987 3 December, 1987
2 8 31 May 1988 2 August 1988
# 1 24 December 1989
3 8 18 February, 1990 15 April, 1990

Awards and nominations

The show was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards. It won five CableACE Awards (three for Best Comedy Series and two for Garry Shandling). It won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performance in a Comedy Series-Cable or Syndicated, and an award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy in 1988 from the Television Critics Association.

DVD release

On October 20, 2009, Shout! Factory released It's Garry Shandling's Show: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 16-disc set features extensive bonus features including featurettes, commentaries and outtakes. Time praised the set's release, writing "As self-referential comedies went, you never meta better one", while Entertainment Weekly named it one of the best TV on DVD releases of 2009.

The first season of the series was released as a stand-alone title in America in April 2010, and the first two seasons have been released in the United Kingdom by Fabulous Films (which owns the distribution rights to many of Shout! Factory's releases) with the US sets' extras ported in their entirety.


The show was shown on TV Land Canada until 2010.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "It%27s_Garry_Shandling%27s_Show" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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