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Your Favorite Comedy Exists Because of The Larry Sanders Show

This year the IFC channel started showing reruns of The Larry Sanders Show, which will hopefully introduce one of the best, most influential sitcoms of all time to a new generation of bored stoners, Greg the Bunny fans, agoraphobic movie snobs, and whoever else is watching IFC at 11 pm on a Monday. It’s a strange show to watch in syndication, however, and I can picture someone — even a comedy geek who peppers conversations with Mr. Show and Spaced quotes — finishing an episode of Larry Sanders and wondering what the big deal is. So: this is why Larry Sanders is a big deal.

We should start by saying that the HBO-produced The Larry Sanders Show is a workplace comedy, the workplace in question being the late-night talk show called “The Larry Sanders Show.” The main characters are the titular talk show host, played by series creator Garry Shandling as a deeply neurotic, narcissistic, self-loathing train wreck of a man; Larry’s on-air sidekick “Hey Now!” Hank Kingsley (Jeffrey Tambor of Arrested Development fame), who is like Ed McMahon but dumber, angrier, and consumed with a need for approval from Larry; and Arthur the producer (Rip Torn), who keeps the show going by feeding and manipulating Larry’s and Hank’s egos and occasionally losing his temper in short, hilarious bursts.

A behind-the-scenes-of-showbiz comedy isn’t anything special; the reason Larry Sanders deserves singling out is the attention Shandling and the other producers paid to making the show realistic. READ MORE