Written by: Alex Green
We are sad to report that Garry Shandling has died.
He was 66.
Details are few, but at this point, the word is that the comic died of a massive heart attack.
The king of subtextual, post-modern comedy, throughout his work Shandling fashioned an MC Escher-like world wherein he would do things like star on a show about a guy with the same name who knows he’s starring on a show and being played by himself.
And the whole thing was filmed in his actual apartment.
In comedic terms, Shandling was punk rock, post-modern, meta and alternative, long before anyone else. He broke down the fourth wall, he played with our perceptions of what’s real and what’s not and he parodied the sitcom paradigm by frequently going off script.
A respected stand-up, a brilliant writer and one of the most beloved figures in show business, The Chicago-born Shandling got his start writing for Welcome Back Kotter and Sanford And Son.
Although he’s best known for The Larry Sanders Show and It’s Gary Shandling’s Show, the comedian’s CV is unpredictably varied. He appeared on The X-Files, he hosted The Emmys and SNL, and he appeared in Iron Man 2 as well as The Dictator.
Sanders rarely revealed much about his personal life, though he did admit that he was an avid boxing fan and had a pet snake.
Sunday, my longtime friend Garry Shandling was here, making every1 laugh. I loved him. I'll miss our talks the most. pic.twitter.com/Ud8AQXNBXN
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 24, 2016
Garry Shandling is one of the great teachers in my life. He taught me about subtext, honesty, compassion, the best kind of comedy. Much love
— Mary Lynn Rajskub (@MaryLynnRajskub) March 24, 2016
R.I.P. Garry Shandling. I am so saddened to hear this. Brilliantly funny and such a great guy. He will be so missed.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) March 24, 2016