The Comedian's Comedian's Comedian
Amy Wallace • GQ • August 2010
A profile of the reclusive Garry Shandling.
A great boxer makes his opponent fight his fight, on his terms. A great stand-up takes control of a room. There's a reason comics say their best shows "killed." Making people laugh is, at its simplest, an act of domination. And Shandling dominated Gervais. I tell Garry their interaction looks more hostile than he will admit. He offers me an organic-turkey sandwich. "A lot of funny people have a way of looking at life and commenting on it," he says. "Now, there's another leap to take, which is: Are those funny people actually integrating their life into their work? I still search for ways to put it. It's living art. I see it as living life as an art. And part of that's the comedy, and part of that's the acting, and part of that's the basketball, and part of that's the boxing."
And part of that is, of course, the Buddhism. Garry's been meditating and keeping journals that chronicle what he calls "my path and how I'm growing and where I'm at" since his twenties. The first time he was asked to guest-host The Tonight Show, he wrote in his journal. "I sat down—I have it in my book—and I said, 'This is about becoming one with The Tonight Show,'" he says.
Note: this guide really isn’t complete without Marc Maron’s 2-part episode of WTF with Louis C.K. from 2010. Their conversation is not freely available online, however. You can buy it on Maron’s site. For a low-budget alternative, here are Maron and C.K. on separate episodes of Fresh Air — imagine them talking to each other via Terry Gross.