13 Hall of Fame Jokes from Garry Shandling

13 Hall of Fame Jokes from Garry Shandling

Garry Shandling had one of the most unique trajectories in the history of comedy: a would-be late-night king who refused the crown. As a frequent guest host for The Tonight Show, Shandling had his path all laid out for him; instead, he declined a late-night talk show spot of his own, opting to create a meta-show in the form of The Larry Sanders Show. This shouldn’t be too surprising of a turn, given that Shandling did the same thing with the sitcom format after being a writer for several years, turning his own sitcom into the equally meta It’s Garry Shandling’s Show

With the surge of modern meta-humor, it’s hard to overstate the influence both shows — and Shandling — have had on today’s comedy creators. And because his was a no-doubt hall-of-fame career, today we’re inducting his best jokes and moments into our Comedy Hall of Fame.

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On Being from the Class of ‘67

“I graduated in 1967 from high school. Do you realize kids now on their senior trip go to the Bahamas? We went to Vietnam on our senior trip.”

On Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil must be hiding something. Otherwise, why wouldn’t he be using his last name?”

As Mulder on ‘The X-Files’

As part of the in-universe X-Files movie within The X-Files TV show, Shandling got to portray the paranoid FBI agent by just being his paranoid comedic self.

On Reality TV

Being Combative in a Support Group

When Shandling hosted Saturday Night Live, he participated in a support group sketch in which he had to face all the childhood trauma his mother put him through. Someone should do something!

On Lovemaking

“I once made love for an hour and 15 minutes, but it was on the night the clocks are set ahead.”

On Lying to Impress Women

“I just broke up with my girlfriend because I lied to impress her. Have you guys ever done this? And it always comes back at you, geez. When that space shuttle landed, and I wasn’t on it, I couldn’t face her.”

On Intimacy

“My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem, but they don’t really know me.”

As Conan O’Brien’s Love Interest

As Larry Sanders

Arguably his most memorable role, Shandling played a version of himself if he were to host a regular late-night show as work-obsessed womanizer Larry Sanders. The HBO workplace sitcom inspired a generation of comedies that followed.

‘This Is the Theme to Garry’s Show’

For It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Shandling would often break the fourth wall to interact with the audience and generally crack the conventions of typical sitcoms of the time as Shandling portrayed a comedian who knew he was inside of a TV show. Part of this concept included the brilliant theme song, which is literally just stating that it’s Garry’s theme song.

His First ‘Tonight Show’ Appearance

Like many others of his generation, the thing that really cemented Shandling’s standing was his inaugural performance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Carson was so impressed by Shandling that he’d have Shandling guest-host whenever he went on vacation. As mentioned earlier, Shandling could have gone on for decades as a late-night host. Instead, he used this stand-up set and what would follow as inspiration for even greater creativity.

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