The Larry Sanders Show

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Hank, Artie, and Larry

Live on tape from Hollywood, it's the Larry Sanders Show!

Superb late-night talk show satire, written by and starring the late Garry Shandling as the titular Larry Sanders, a self-centred and neurotic late-night talk show host á la David Letterman or Jay Leno. Adopting a curious format, the show was split between Larry's talk-show (recorded on videotape) and the back-stage exploits (recorded on film). This effortlessly presented the contrast between the professional showbiz world of the show and the petty, snide backstabbing environment behind the scenes, along with Larry's effortlessly smooth, constantly grinning and in-control stage persona and his insecure, paranoid off-camera personality. The contrast was helped by numerous real-life stars who agreed to play as 'guests' on Larry's show, including Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, Roseanne Barr and David Duchovny, whose man-crush on Larry became a running gag.

Present to help (or hinder) Larry was his ultra-aggressive and tough-as-boots, but loyal, bulldog of a producer, Artie (Rip Torn), and Larry's pompous and egotistical sidekick, "Hey Now!" Hank Kingsley (Jeffrey Tambor), who despite his genial and bumbling stage presence was if anything even more paranoid, insecure and pathetic than Larry himself.

Tropes used in The Larry Sanders Show include:

Hank: Where you, and your food, go on an adventure!

  • Studio Audience
  • Stunt Casting: The producers got an awful lot of big names to appear on the show playing themselves. In-Universe, this is pretty much the only reason Hank Kingsley ever gets offered outside acting gigs - e.g., a guest spot as the janitor on Caroline in The City and a voice role in Disney's Hercules movie.
  • Ted Baxter: Hank.
  • Two for One Show
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • Below average in appearance Larry is married to the gorgeous Jeannie in the first season and dates many beautiful actresses throughout (Mimi Rogers, Sharon Stone etc). Balding Hank also has a much younger and attractive wife.
    • Outside the show Gary Shandling dated Linda Doucett, who, in addition to playing Hank's secretary Darlene, modeled for Playboy.