24 May 2001 | Hotoil
Smart & Engrossing Satire
Yes, late-night talk shows really are that calculated. They actually plan out the jokes that seem spur of the moment. It was interesting to learn these things in a documentary about talk shows recently, but more fun to see this reality skewered on the Larry Sanders show. Unfortunately, although it mocks late-night talk shows, it also falls into a few of their conventions. The show usually stops short for about a minute or so while the 'musical guest' on the show-within-a-show performs a song, and sometimes we have to sit through the lame monologues as well. Usually it's in the name of satire, sometimes it's puzzling. Anyway, this was much better than Seinfeld - to which it bears comparison for the similar reality base- because it was allowed to be more real and was definitely more engrossing, never relying on shtick. Plus, Gary Shandling REALLY knew when to quit - way before there was any drop-off in quality. By the time Seinfeld signed off just about everything that had made that show what it was had already faded away. Catch it on HBO Comedy if you get that channel, where it airs nightly.