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Cracking Up With Garry Shandling

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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SEPARATED AT MIRTH Shandling, Chappelle (inset)

Is Garry Shandling the original Dave Chappelle? On the surface, the two comedians may look and perform about as differently as you can imagine, but both appear to have had the same streak of perfectionism leading to creative breakdowns and self-imposed exile as their respective shows slipped away from them.

Sunday's New York Times featured a story on the long-delayed (though incomplete) DVD of Shandling's '90s era HBO series The Larry Sanders Show. (A pared down version of season one had been released, but the new discs cover all six seasons.) The article portrays the end of the sixth season of Shandling's meta-Hollywood satire as chaotic and emotionally wrenching for Shandling. The stress was further compounded by his $100 million "triple dipping" lawsuit against manager Brad Grey, which included a cameo by wiretap-loving PI Anthony Pellicano. (Shandling politely—and wisely—chose not to discuss Pellicano with the Times.)

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