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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 30th March 2018 > The Garry Effect

The Garry Effect

Judd Apatow’s HBO documentary aims to capture Garry Shandling’s lifetime of influence—as a comedian, yes, but also as a human being. At more than four hours, it feels too short

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MR. META Shandling in a press photo for his first groundbreaking sitcom, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, which ran on Showtime from 1986 to 1990, and notably broke the fourth wall.
BONNIE SCHIFFMAN/HBO

TRY TO IMAGINE TELEVISION without The Office, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation. If you can’t, blame Garry Shandling and the comedian’s groundbreaking meta-sitcom, The Larry Sanders Show. Set behind the scenes of a fictional late-night talk show and boasting a stellar cast—including Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Janeane Garofalo and, in a breakthrough role, Sarah Silverman—the show ran for six seasons on HBO, from 1992 to 1998, and fundamentally altered the way TV comedy works. Fly-on-the-wall camera work, acerbic but heartfelt writing and borderline-unlikable characters are de rigueur today, but they were novel when Shandling built Sanders.

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VIKTOR ORBAN In early March, Janos Lázár , a senior Hungarian minister, posted a video on Facebook complaining about the lack of “white Christians” in Vienna. Muslim migrants, he warned, were destroying the city, and if someone didn’t do something, they would transform Budapest, Hungary’s capital, in a similar way. “If we let them in…our cities,” Lazar told his followers, “the consequences will be crime, impoverishment, dirt, filth and impossible urban conditions.” Lázár is chief of staff to Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian prime minister, and his post came roughly a month before the country goes to the polls in April. It was a classic move from Orbán, something his Alliance of Young Democrats (known as Fidesz) had done many times before: play to voters’ fears over Islam and immigration.