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'The Complete Larry Sanders': Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor and Judd Apatow remember

October 30, 2010 |  4:23 pm

SandersOn the occasion of the release of "The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series" (Shout Factory) -- the entire 89-episode run of the influential backstage-onstage comedy is being made available for the first time on home video -- I interview co-creator and star Shandling, co-star Jeffrey Tambor and writer-producer Judd Apatow.

The series, which aired on HBO from 1992 to 1998, bowing out just before "The Sopranos" blasted in, was that network's first source of prestige as a producer of original content and something new to television -- a comedy unusually invested in the real, shot like a documentary but not disguised as a documentary, with full-bodied characters whose travails, mostly self-inflcited, never seemed less than actual and authentic. It played along the lines between the public and private, the created and the real -- in what has since become a commonplace of comedy, celebrities played themselves against type. But where much modern humor is happy just to go for the jugular, "Sanders" was a kind of workshop in the sad hilarity of the human condition, for its characters and the actors who played them alike. As Shandling says here, they were not merely making a TV show, but conducting a "lab experiment to find the courage just to be."

Read the full article here.

-- Robert Lloyd

Photo: Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn and Garry Shandling, from left, in "The Larry Sanders Show" Credit: Sony Pictures Television / Shout Factory