• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 15, 1992
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6
Metascore
97

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics What's this?

User Score
3.7

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 12 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 hisComic 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: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Monica Collins
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    It takes a literate, cynical look at showbiz and, in doing so, creates fine art. [12 Nov 1996]
  2. Reviewed by: Elaine Showalter
    Jun 26, 2013
    100
    As Larry, Shandling raises banality into an art form; he is consistently hilarious whether blissfully watching his own videos or reacting to a bad review.
  3. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    It's as brilliant, hard-edged and hilarious as ever. [13 Nov 1996]
  4. Reviewed by: John Freeman
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    Based on this season's first two episodes, "The Larry Sanders Show" maintains its killer aim: It's never been more deliciously caustic or more viciously on-target about Hollywood insiders' egos and insecurities -- or more outright hilarious. [12 Nov 1996]
  5. Reviewed by: John J. O'Connor
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    When a series starts off great and just keeps getting better, it's television-classic time. And as "The Larry Sanders Show" racks up its fifth 13-week season, that's precisely what is happening on HBO.
  6. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    "The Larry Sanders Show" opens its fifth season tonight by reminding viewers just how extraordinary it is, not only as one of the funniest, smartest comedies ever, but also in sometimes having celebrity guests depict themselves in ways almost as curious as stories on "The X-Files," the otherworldly Fox series that made [guest David] Duchovny famous.
  7. Reviewed by: Frederic M. Biddle
    Jul 17, 2013
    80
    Television's blackest comedy. [13 Nov 1996]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jan 9, 2014
    10
    The Larry Sanders Show contains some of the most witty moments in television history. Studded with exceptional cameos and performances, oneThe 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
  2. Apr 27, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. No surprises here: The Larry Sanders Show is as good as it ever was in its fifth Season. This time, we're given a truncated Season the same length as the first Season. The Larry Sanders Show has proven itself consistent over longer stretches, so it's disappointing that the Season was so short. But this time, I can say with confidence that I don't feel this Season had any weak episodes, unlike Seasons 2, 3, and 4.

    One of the coolest changes this Season has to be the video quality increase. You may not have noticed it but, especially in the actual Larry Sanders Show, things are starting to look a hell of a lot clearer. Perhaps this is partly attributed to the change in background on the fictional show's set. Larry looks less grainy, making his facial expressions all the more priceless.

    I understand that this episode didn't exactly light the critics' world on fire per say, but I think that "The Roast" is The Larry Sander Show's strongest outing yet. Not only that; this is one of the best episodes in comedy ever. In this episode, we see the writers have the utmost confidence in their ability. We actually see them deliberately write weak and immature jokes to take an obvious stab at the Hollywood 'roasts', and typical late night comedy fodder, for that matter. Now, it's no secret that The Larry Sanders Show's best laughs often come in between shows. However here, the show absolutely nails the stupid humour that people somehow find entertaining. The one part that perfectly encapsulates what this episode is all about is when Hank asked Phil for advice on how to deal with hecklers. "You always come back with a d*ck related insult". Ha, that is unfortunately so true. And, of course, the Hollywood hierarchy is at it again; after their similar homosexual jokes, every speaker eventually makes it about themselves. Beautiful commentary. Since the jokes were intentionally unfunny, the laughs didn't come as freely as some of the other episodes, but when this episode wanted you to laugh, you laughed hard. Larry, Hank, and Artie were up to their usual shenanigans and it's as funny as ever.

    Though, this Season wastes no time in making fun at real-life celebrity personalities. In "Everybody Loves Larry", Larry thinks his friend, David Duchovny, is gay and Elvis Costello rips off Hank. Both these plotlines are amusing and end up in great lines near by their respective ends. "The feeling that I have when I'm with you is the same as when I'm with a girl I like... a heterosexual feeling directed at you." and "It's not a car, it's a driving machine." were equally memorable.

    Speaking of gay innuendos, "Ellen or isn't She?" was another stand-out episode. Looks like The Larry Sanders Show has to go to Bakersville now thanks to Ellen's refusal to give Larry the scoop that everyone was waiting for. Ellen DeGeneres is hysterical in this episode, providing some of the biggest laughs of the episode. And the episode is bound to be a highlight when Bob Odenkirk's Steve Grant makes an appearance. "You gotta sleep with TWO lesbians."

    Meanwhile, Jeffrey Tambor's role as Hank Kingsley continues to shine. Sorry, but he should have won an Emmy over Rip Torn, among others. He's a regular Brad Garrett, after all. Anyway, early on, we see Hank have a huge identity crisis in "My Name is Asher Kingsley"... or so we think. His sudden 'proud-to-be-Jewish' attitude is all just to get a girl. Typical Hank.

    "Artie and Angie and Hank and Hercules" was a great episode for the main trio. We have Hank getting too excited over his role in Hercules and Larry and Artie in similarly destructive relationships. After that episode, "The Prank" delivers the laughs through lots of solid lines. Another great episode comes in "Pain Equals Funny", where Phil's writing fluctuates and Paula almost produces The Mommies.

    "The Book" is one of the best episodes Season too. We have Larry looking back on his life, finally realizing the he is very selfish human being. I also particularly enjoyed the part where he talked to one of his ex-lovers about their relationship. Hank's desperation to read the script was great too, and this ended in a predictable but still hilarious moment before the credits. Although Larry does now realize his flaws, he thankfully doesn't seem too interested in change. I love Artie's confidence in counting on Larry to not miss a show.

    There we have it folks, yet another outstanding comedic Season brought to you by The Larry Sanders Show. Next time, the Season will be even shorter, leaving me little more time with Larry and the gang. However, if these 5 Seasons are any indication, I'm sure I won't be displeased.

    Also: I ask again, what is up with these negative ratings?
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