The funniest TV theme song is one I suspect most of my friends will have never heard. Oh boy, is it funny!
I might just let you listen to it below if you play your cards right.
It’s the theme from The Gary Shandling Show. The words are:
It’s the theme to Gary’s show. The theme to Gary’s show.
Gary called me up and asked if I would write his theme song.
I’m almost halfway finished. How do you like it so far? How do you like the theme to Gary’s show?
This is the theme to Gary’s show.
The opening theme to Gary’s show.
This is the music that you hear as we watch the credits.
We’re almost to the part, of where I start to whistle, then we’ll watch the Gary Shandling Show.
This is the theme to Gary Shandling’s show.
You can listen to it by clicking the black Play button below.[audio:http://rightnerve.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/GaryShandling.mp3]
Note: If you don’t see a black Play button above, or it just won’t work for your phone or computer configuration, if all else fails, click this direct link to the mp3 audio file. It’s under two minutes so the download won’t take long. http://rightnerve.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/GaryShandling.mp3
That Show’s Song Was Priceless, But That Wasn’t His Funniest Show
Gary Shandling passed away yesterday.
I was sad. He was a comedian who influenced me greatly. His influence was in my delivery, a deadpan kind of humor that I think I portray in much of my writing more than I do in person. I’ve seen most of his appearances at least once and his television shows multiple times, and I will see them multiple times again… especially the funniest TV show ever which was his. (Not The Gary Shandling Show, one with a similar name though.)
His death was an unusual and extremely sad one for a celebrity. I’ll tell you why soon.
It’s been a few years since I last watched that one, the funniest TV show of all time. It’s once again time for a good show binge.
Shandling was a private person which is why a lot of you won’t know who he is. Yet, consider this small sample of his work:
- Semi-permanent guest host for Johnny Carson on the later years of Carson’s Tonight Show – I was fairly young when he did so many guest host appearances on Carson, but he was my favorite by far.
- His own television comedy that used the theme song above, The Gary Shandling Show – This show was perhaps the earliest comedy sketch show to be self-aware. The show had a meta flavor in that Gary and the other actors would just be seen walking in front of the studio audience to the next set anytime they “went outside” or changed venues in the plot. He would do a lot of soliloquies to the viewers and go back and forth to being “in character” (where he played himself to begin with; I said it was meta) to being the self-aware soliloquy delivery man and friend to the viewer giving the viewer an inside track to what was going on.
- His own television comedy – This was the first commercial success for HBO doing an independent show or movie, long before Oz or Sopranos. His show was called The Larry Sanders Show. That show was, arguably, the funniest show ever made for television (more about that below).
Note: I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that if The Larry Sanders Show was a failure, it would be quite a while before HBO ever risked producing additional original series, such as the most excellent Oz or Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire or Entourage (or even the amazingly funny Hello Ladies that neither most Gary Shandling fans nor any of my friends have ever heard of).
- Lots of stand-up appearances, specials, guest hostings, guest star positions, all the while staying a little under the radar and keeping to himself far more than most successful actors and comedians do. (He shared this privacy trait with Johnny Carson and Jerry Seinfeld.)
- He provided some unexpected comedic relief to the Avengers-related Marvel movies by appearing in a couple of them as a Senator who had turn-coated to Hydra. He played his usual Larry Sanders-like character. In other words, he played himself, a man who is extremely neurotic and narcissistic at the very same time. Classic Gary Shandling!
As I said and as you heard play above, the funniest television theme song ever recorded was his Gary Shandling Show.
But his funniest TV show was his too, and so ever close in name: The Larry Sanders Show.
Oh man. It makes the term “comedy gold” lame when applied to almost any other show ever made.
Isn’t Funny Relative?
I agree that declaring the funniest TV show in history is risky, what with the first two seasons of Ron “Call Me Opie” Howard’s Arrested Development and the biggest chunk of the Seinfeld episodes. Yes, it’s a risk to call The Larry Sanders Show the funniest television show in history.
But it’s low risk.
Plus, I’m extremely well-versed in such things. Plus, I’m a Man of Letters as you know. I’m worth listening to.
Note: Yep, it’s confusing that his real life name is Gary Shandling and on the funniest TV show that ever aired he was named Larry Sanders. For all intents and purposes, it really doesn’t matter if you confuse them. Gary Shandling was Larry Sanders, again extremely neurotic, uncertain, and narcissistic at the very same time.
A Clue for You Before You Watch The Funniest TV Show in History
If you suspect that any character on The Larry Sanders Show is being sarcastic… Oh they are. They are.
As with most shows made since the mid-1990s, you must watch the show in episodic order. You should watch The Larry Sanders Show if you value extreme deadpan comedy (in light of a warning I give you below).
Before you do, please understand, that virtually every word out of the regular cast’s mouths are sarcastic beyond sarcasm. They’re so wrapped up in their own heads that they cannot deal with others or with reality and they deflect others knowing about it through biting humorous sarcasm. I love that kind of humor. Probably more than I should.
If you didn’t know this going in, the first couple of shows might seem kind of boring. What a shame that would be because some of the funniest lines ever delivered on the small screen would be flying right over your head. It’s the master show of deadpan, sarcastic humor. Wealthy, famous losers envious of all the wealthy, famous losers around them.
About The Funniest TV Show in History
Lots of rumors were flying when it was time for NBC to pick a new host for the retiring Johnny Carson. It seemed to be coming down to the wire between Joan Rivers, Jay Leno, and Gary Shandling.
Joan Rivers was stunned and hurt when Johnny stopped asking her to host during that year or two of trial guest host replacement shows. I was stunned and hurt when Johnny stopped asking Gary Shandling to guest host. Jay Leno became the permanent guest host in Johnny’s final year or two and the rest is history.
Shandling decided to create a show that featured – let’s say, some of the meaner things that (allegedly) went on night after night on The Tonight Show. Situations the audience had no awareness of. The Larry Sanders Show was a behind-the-scenes look at what was obviously a thinly-veiled attempt to air The Tonight Show‘s dirty laundry.
And it did so in such brilliant ways! Larry Sanders would be
Johnny Carson the show’s nightly host with the bumbling fool Ed McMahon Hank Kingsley often drunk, usually broke, and idolizing the host in real life to the point of sadness.
Note: Jeffrey Tambor played
Ed McMahon Hank Kingsley. His tenure on The Larry Sanders Show made him a huge star in spite of how big of a drunk, foolish loser The Larry Sanders Show‘s sidekick character portrayed him as.
Note: I’ve only met Jeffery Tambor once. It was in the Green Room before a taping I attended of Politically Incorrect. He smelled to high Heaven of stinking, rotting booze and slurred every word he uttered to me that night. Playing Hank Kingsley was no stretch for him! I gave him the classic Hank Kingsley tagline from The Larry Sanders Show, “Hey, now!“, but he had no idea what I was talking about until I explained it to him. Keep in mind, this was a line he said multiple times on every, single episode of The Larry Sanders Show. Whenever an entertainment rag ran a story on the show, Hank would be shouting out his classic tagline, Hey now! And… he was so drunk before going on Politically Incorrect that he had no clue what I was saying and even after I explained to him his world-famous line, I’m not sure he got it.
Note: Politically Incorrect is the most improperly-named show in the history of television.
The Larry Sanders Show implied that Johnny, his staff, and his show were notorious for things such as:
- Pre-show interviews by the show’s Talent Coordinator would be nothing but cutting, snarky, sarcastic (snarcastic!) questions and replies that put most guests on edge. The more famous the guest, the more uncomfortable they were to be there.
- Behind-the-scenes back-stabbings between the host and the sidekick (a la Ed McMahon). Did Johnny and Ed have the relationship that Larry Sanders portrayed with Hank Kingsley? As with the whole thing, it was greatly implied but never said specifically.
- The moment the Tonight Show-like Larry Sanders Show would cut to a commercial break, Larry would lean over and tell the guest how much he hated his last movie and how he was a has-been, or some other incredibly direct insult. The star, and typically it would be a huge star like Di Niro, would just throw it all back in a major angry insult-trade until the show came back from the commercial break. The entire mud-slinging would be done with fiercely hateful voices but delivered calmly with smiles so the in-studio audience had no clue how much
Johnny CarsonLarry Sanders hated most of his guests. The moment the cameras were back on them, they picked up the friendly interview the commercial interrupted with the viewing audience none the wiser.
- And so much more.
The Larry Sanders Show portrayed not just a Tonight Show lookalike, but all of Hollywood for what it is: lying, hating, two-faced, people and that was why it was so funny. Real humor always has at least an ounce of truth to it and the empty shells of actors and actresses and hosts in Hollywood are as anxious, unsure, and stupid as we know them to really be.
When Larry would come home from a taping, he’d insist that he and his wife watch and critique every minute of the show when it aired later that night. Larry Sanders was revealed to be neurotic, vain, and massively narcissistic – exactly as they all really are. (Yes, I used hyperbole when I wrote “all” in the previous sentence, but only slight hyperbole since it’s mostly true.)
The Larry Sanders Show certainly was a secular show in every way. These neurotic, narcissistic characters, played by real-life neurotic, narcissistic actors and actresses revealed plenty, but in the most hilarious of ways.
The language was crude, just as they actually speak. The relationships they were in and out of always ended in disaster. They went from person to person because the characters were vapid, unhappy, looking for something they’d never find (on earth). Their problems with other people were always steeped in their need to feel better about themselves for living a life they knew they didn’t deserve but they’d never admit it.
Some moments on the series showed glimmers of hope for morality, such as when Hank learned that his new male secretary was a homo and tried to fire the pervert. Alas, the pervert won out in the end and became a regular in the cast.
As Dr. Gary North so eloquently has written, the vast majority of Christians seem to avoid all secular movies and television. This is good of course; you don’t want your children watching Oz. (You probably shouldn’t watch Oz either!)
But burying our heads in the sand, knowing nothing about what’s happening, means we also are never considered in the programming any longer. Disney and ABC (owned by Disney), for example, don’t care if every show they offer is pervert-laden with piles of
child-molesting homosexuals. They constantly normalize destructive behavior.
Knowing more about these things never means we accept them and it doesn’t mean we watch most of it. But we should demand a seat at the table instead of knowing absolutely nothing about what’s going on. We’re to be in the world and be effective witnesses.
I think what I really loved about The Larry Sanders Show more than the cutting, sarcastic, biting, caustic comedy…
Interruption: Although come on, who doesn’t love cutting, sarcastic, biting, caustic comedy?
I think what I really loved about The Larry Sanders Show more than the cutting, sarcastic, biting, caustic comedy…that was like no other, was its characters often got what they deserved. Their neurotic narcissism led straight to unhappiness most of the time.
Their sins almost always resulted in major consequences.
Nobody Else in History Accomplished What Gary Shandling Accomplished
I see no chance that the Gary Shandling situation will ever be achieved by any other person in history: He had a show with the funniest TV theme song ever and he also had the funniest TV show ever.
I’ll miss him.
Like his show’s alter ego, Gary Shandling was constantly unsure of himself, constantly needing assurances by every person around him that he had worth, and was alone much of his life and in his own head due to the anxieties that plagued him. Larry Sanders and Gary Shandling saw through much of Hollywood to realize they were steeped in their own misery.
As Larry Sanders no doubt would have done if the show lasted long enough, Gary Shandling died alone. It seems Gary Shandling had to make his own 911 call due to a heart attack he was having yesterday.
As of this writing, the specifics being reported are cloudy, but right now they’re saying the medics didn’t make it to his home in time.
Yesterday Morning, Gary Shandling Expected to Die As Much As You Probably Expected to Die
All signs point to a sad departure and an even sadder eternity leave where Gary Shandling’s now quite uncomfortable and sorrowful at decisions he made when alive. That’s a shame. I would have enjoyed talking with him if we were going to the same place.
So, Gary died at a young age of 66 from an unexpected heart attack. The very last thing on Gary’s mind yesterday morning when he got out of bed was that he would be dead before the day was over. This is no doubt the very last thing on most of our minds as well.
Are you sure you’ve made the proper arrangements for your possibly sudden death that can come in an instant also? Buying a casket is meaningless; that’s not the arrangement I’m speaking of.
You’ll live way past your death, actually. You need to decide where you want to spend that time.
Gary Shandling had a lot to be thankful for, but he also had a lot to be sorry for. I believe he was sorry, but he never admitted it to the only One who mattered: the God Who gave him life. No one would be more joyful than God if Gary Shandling had asked Him for forgiveness anytime yesterday morning right up until the second before Shandling’s heart attack took him faster than a short ambulance ride to his home took. And no one would be more joyful that you do the same if you haven’t asked God, through His Son Jesus, to forgive you.
Will you live long enough for the ambulance to make it to your home some day?
If you think there’s no Heaven, you’d better be sure as Hell you’re correct.