Last night, friends and family of the late Garry Shandling got together to celebrate the life of their friend, who was undeniably one of modern comedy’s biggest influences. According to THR, the three-hour event took place at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, with an audience made up of a broad spectrum of comedians, musicians, and others such as Billy Crystal, Warren Beatty, Norman Lear, Albert Brooks, Conan O’Brien, Henry Winkler, Rob Reiner, Ray Romano, Tom Petty, Tim Allen, Peter Farrelly, Phil Rosenthal, Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Jeremy Piven, Pauly Shore, Cheryl Hines, Eric Idle, Carrot Top, Demetri Martin, and Michael Richards.
The CEO’s of HBO and Time Warner, Richard Plepler and Jeff Bewkes, were both in attendance, alongside Shandling’s longtime publicist and friend Alan Neirob, and his agent, Martin Lesak. The powerhouse roster in attendance, which was only a fraction of the close to 500 friends and colleagues that showed up to the memorial, was a testament to the respect that Shandling earned and the influence that the man had on those around him. Perhaps most of all, that included friend and director Judd Apatow.
Apatow produced and hosted the event (with HBO picking up the bill,) which opened at 7 p.m. with a skit featuring Jeffrey Tambor and Penny Johnson, both old cohorts of Shandling’s from his The Larry Sanders Show and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show days. The skit was followed by a musical performance by Ryan Adams and Johnny Depp, along with several other musicians.
The three-hour show often ebbed and flowed between hilarious and joyful to spiritual and heavy at any given moment, just as the late comedian would have wanted it. Monologues by comics were followed by speeches by buddhist leaders, encompassing the many facets of what made Shandling the man that so many came to adore.
Apatow mused on everything from Shandling’s writing prowess to his dick size, tearfully paying tribute to the man who took him under his wing 26 years ago at the young age of 22. “He was a better writer than everybody in the room,” the director stated. “It was like Picasso being mad at you because you couldn’t paint with him. (But) he loved people and that was always his priority. Despite his human failings and struggles, he was preaching love.”
The night also featured candid and heartfelt moments from Shandling’s cousin Michael and his ex-fiancee, Linda Doucett that helped to paint an intimate and complete picture of the man they loved.
The Hollywood Reporter did an excellent write up of the star-studded event that was said to be both touching and hilarious, so be sure to check it out for more information.