• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 15, 1992
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6
Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Starring: Wallace Langham, Garry Shandling, Penny Johnson Jerald
  • Summary: Comic Garry Shandling draws upon his own talk show experiences to create the character of Larry Sanders, a paranoid, insecure host of a late night talk show. Larry, along with his obsequious TV sidekick Hank Kingsley and his fiercely protective producer Artie, allows Garry Shandling and his talented writers to look behind the scenes and to show us a convincing slice of behind the camera life. Expand
  • Genre(s): Comedy, Talk & Interview
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Laurence Vittes
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    They'd better set up a separate category for HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" when Emmy time comes around. [13 Aug 1992]
  2. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    Scathing but hilarious, the series finds its richest material in spoofing showbiz pretentiousness. ... [Shandling] has brought something new to the sitcom format: a devastating commentary on the medium itself. [15 Aug 1992]
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    Laugh-out-loud and sad all at once, The Larry Sanders Show shines merciless light in the heartless dark night of TV. [14 Aug 1992]
  4. Reviewed by: Rick Kogan
    Jul 17, 2013
    90
    Shandling adeptly bends the line between reality and TV's make-believe. [14 Aug 1992]
  5. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Jul 17, 2013
    90
    Real talk shows should be as acutely funny.
  6. Reviewed by: Kathleen O'Steen
    Jul 17, 2013
    90
    It's a clever melding of real-life and on-camera stuff that's down and dirty and diabolic in its intent. ... An absolute gem. [14 Aug 1992]
  7. Reviewed by: John Engstrom
    Jul 17, 2013
    70
    Unfortunately, the next two episodes are not up to the [premiere's] standards, but the series still promises an enjoyable weekly joust with the puffed-up image that some TV types assume viewers still believe in and accept as real. [14 Aug 1992]

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. May 25, 2013
    10
    Agreed. One of the very best shows I've ever seen on TV and with better guests than the actual talk shows that it's spoofing. Too bad many people won't appreciate that the "guests" on this show were some of the biggest stars of the day. Expand
  2. Jan 9, 2014
    10
    The Larry Sanders Show contains some of the most witty moments in television history. Studded with exceptional cameos and performances, one can find true humor in almost every turn during every episode. Expand
  3. Dec 26, 2012
    10
    The Larry Sanders Show is simply and foremost the daddy of QUALITY TV Comedy shows. Its brilliance cannot be overstated. Talk about the knocking down of the fourth wall. This series rips the 5th, the 6th and 7th walls. Unparalled acting/or just plain acting will leave you in histerics. A must for any quality TV fan. Not to miss. To rewatch and rerewatch and rererewatch. Expand
  4. Mar 2, 2014
    9
    The Larry Sanders Show isn't as 'quotable' as some of the other elite comedies. However, even among those, few shows make me laugh as much as this. The show that inspired the awkward comedy of The Office quickly made me realize just how damn special it is.

    The Larry Sanders Show swiftly made an impression on me. The hilarity of the situation Larry was put in, forced to pitch the Garden Weasel live in the first episode was great. After that, the first 13 episodes never ceased to amaze with the diverse situations that Larry and the gang had to step around.

    Perhaps the reason why this show works so well has to do with Garry Shandling, and his real life experience as a talk show host. His character, Larry Sanders, is a bit of a showbiz a-hole, yet his character is endearing, given the stuff he has to put up with on a daily basis. The erratic co-host Hank Kingsley (Jeffrey Tambor) and producer Artie (Rip Torn) constantly put Larry in outstanding entertaining scenes. Shandling is also involved in the production and creation of the show, so a huge shout-out goes to him for not only his acting abilities.

    Arguably, the actor that steals the show here is Tambor. Known as George Bluth to Arrested Development fans, the Hank character he plays here is delightfully clueless. He has that so-unfunny-that-it's-funny trait about him. When he's on screen with Shandling, it's inevitable that the comedic chemistry between these two actors will ignite. Although, I have to say his funniest part had to do with him dictating a published piece, where he gets distracted and describes a sex scene happening outside his office window in "Out of the Loop". Something like that has been done before, but the freshness in the scene was thanks to HBO allowing the writers to give us something that is unapologetically uncut. So don't let the kiddies watch this.

    With 13 wildly different arcs, I'm curious to see how the writers kept up their sensational streak. Larry deals with marital problems, friendship issues, pressure from the network, and more all in one Season. You get the feeling that the show does NOT want to settle for stagnation. Even more impressively is that fact that these aren't just weekly skits. We actually see some interesting plot and character development as well. The show is always exceptional; even the least funny of episodes are well worth watching.

    The Larry Sanders Show is divided into two sections: the behind-the-scenes work and the actual show itself. The talk show has Larry doing monologue and interviewing guests who play themselves. Many notable guests come on, but the most impressionable would have to be Catherine O'Hara's (see: Home Alone) completely awkward appearance. Other notable stars include: David Spade, William Shatner (do the Star Trek thing!), Dana Carvey, Michael Richards (however brief), Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Richard Simmons.

    The rest of the show is dedicated to either the workplace or Larry's home life. Some of the best moments aren't actually a part of the show itself. Like the awesome lead up and execution of Larry's office dinner party in the appropriately titled, "Party".

    Like most comedies, some episodes aren't as funny as the rest. The only other fault that I can fathom is the video quality. Not only is this a show from the 90s, but the show is given an intentionally grainy look to make it have a documentary-like feel. The multiple cameras work but the quality can be a touch annoying at times.

    The Larry Sanders show is, surprisingly, one of the most witty shows I've ever scene. Moments of chuckling out loud happened on a frequent basis. If you're tired of all the terrible new comedies that TV seems to be littered with these days, going back in time to experience (or re-experience) The Larry Sanders Show may be the most amusing way to get your entertainment value.
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