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Garry Shandling talks politics and TV news


ShandlingWe’d bet that Garry Shandling was glued to his TV last night watching election returns.  He’s a big TV news channel surfer, or so he said the other night at a benefit hosted by Judd Apatow.  The night was “An Evening of Music and Comedy” to raise money for 826-L.A., a literacy center for kids founded by novelist Dave Eggers. Shandling performed stand-up along with Aziz Ansari from “Parks and Recreation” and Maria Bamford, who’s Apatow’s “comedy crush” of late.

At the cocktail reception afterward, we chatted with Shandling about his new DVD set out this week. “It’s the complete collection of 'The Larry Sanders Show' -- all the episodes are there,” he said.  “I would title it ‘Closure,’ but, uh, that’s a little too personal.” 

This raised the obvious question: What else are you watching on TV these days?

“Jimmy Fallon,” Shandling said. “He’s a gigantic talent with a limitless future.”

But what keeps him in front of the tube, Shandling says, is the nightly news, as politics is something he’s especially passionate about. “I enjoy the real parts of the news. I flip around quite a lot so I can get everybody’s perspective because I’m curious about the conflict in America that exists over these points of view that I think are ultimately self-destructive. We’re labeling each other to the point where we’re gonna destroy each other. The Jews and the Palestinians look at the Democrats and Republicans and think: 'That is a bigger problem than we have. They’re never gonna figure it out.”

Shandling let slip that he’s been honing his stand-up routine in secret these days. “There’s a couple places that I work out that shall remain nameless at the moment because I hide out in them, go in new directions, as they say in 'Star Trek.'” 

He says that his stand-up act has evolved quite a bit since his early days, and then the conversation quickly comes back around to politics. “I’ve grown up; it’s a different man standing here talking. I do two things [in my routine now]:  I reflect on my life, and I look at the world, which I think has got to actually change. And not from a political point of view, but a spiritual point of view.  There’s no answer politically. This is like a dog chasing its tail. So somebody needs to throw it a ball very quickly.”

-- Deborah Vankin

@debvankin on Twitter

Photo: Garry Shandling photographed at home in 2007.Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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