1 9 8 6 – 1 9 9 0 (USA)
72 x 30 minute episodes
This imaginative situation comedy series was rejected by all three major US television networks before it was finally bought by the innovative FOX network.
The series, which starred comedian Garry Shandling, was based around his fictitious life, with Shandling basically playing himself – an offbeat neurotic comic who found it difficult to deal with the world outside.
Shandling broke the fourth wall and talked to viewers from a set modelled around his real-life sitting room, made observations as the various scenes on the show were being seen, allowed his studio audience to roam about the set, and took phone calls from viewers while playing a character who was himself the star of a TV show.
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show was given rave reviews by critics, who were delighted with its new approach to TV situation comedy.
Regular visitors to his Sherman Oaks condominium were Shandling’s mother, Ruth (Barbara Cason), who owned a pet shop called Ruth’s Pet Corral; his friend Pete Schumaker (Michael Tucci); Pete’s bright young son, Grant (Scott Nemes); Jackie Schumaker (Bernadette Birkett); Nancy Bancroft (Molly Cheek), Garry’s friend from childhood who worked for the Going Places Travel Agency, and Garry’s nosy next door neighbour, Leonard Smith (Paul Willson).
Also appearing on the show were Ian Buchanan as Ian, and Jessica Harper as Phoebe Bass, who became Garry’s girlfriend and eventually married him on the show.
The series was created by Shandling and former Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel.