Confessions of a Late-Night Talk Show Host

Confessions of a Late-Night Talk Show Host

by Garry Shandling, David Rensin, Larry Sanders
     
 

With the wit and charm that have made him one of America's most beloved, and now most sorely missed, television personalities, Larry Sanders tells here the story behind the man -- Larry -- from his emotionally barren beginnings in Mound, Minnesota, to his 10-year run as the man millions went to bed with every night. (He had a very big bed.) Confessions of a Late…  See more details below

Overview

With the wit and charm that have made him one of America's most beloved, and now most sorely missed, television personalities, Larry Sanders tells here the story behind the man -- Larry -- from his emotionally barren beginnings in Mound, Minnesota, to his 10-year run as the man millions went to bed with every night. (He had a very big bed.) Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host is a Hollywood autobiography like no other because it reveals all -- the loves and losses, the pain and joy, the shrinks and doctors -- and it is uproariously funny. Larry Sanders has written a book that will have the same 10-year run that his show did. Larry Sanders is no ordinary man, and this book will show America and the world how very different he is. Fueled by an enormous need to be loved and gifted with a talent beyond even his own, Sanders has risen to the top of his field -- and dropped -- while retaining all of his dignity and modesty. As he says on the first page of his story, "I'm famous. Actually, I'm very, very, very famous." Sanders' story is laced with the names (and some of the faces) of the thousands of celebrities who have sought his attention for a decade -- and Sanders tells the world what he thinks of all of them, even if it hurts his own feelings.

Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host is a Hollywood tell-all that will forever change the nature of this kind of book. While Geraldo Rivera used his sexual exploits to shamelessly promote his book, Sanders uses his conquests of thousands of women to illustrate his compassion and grace. "If it sells, it sells," Sanders says. "There was never a hidden agenda." While Roseanne used her book to promote her many personalities, Sanders's book shows how a straight-shooter can not only survive but thrive in Hollywood. Most of all, Sanders, in truthfully disclosing all aspects of his life and those of people he has never met, hopes to heal and entertain. Sanders has written a wonderfully hilarious book that will make some of his fans wish he were back.

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Editorial Reviews

Joyce Millman
Garry Shandling's great comedy series The Larry Sanders Show was a fun house-mirror reflection of the late-night talk show wars, with reality and satire warping together to make a fiction truer than the truth. Larry Sanders was Shandling's celebrimonster, stitched together from pieces of Carson, Letterman, Leno and Shandling himself. Self-centered, paranoid, attention-craving and socially inept, Larry used his talk show as a substitute for meaningful human contact; in the words of his salty old dog of a producer, Artie (played in the series by Rip Torn), Larry was "half-man, half-desk."

A Larry Sanders autobiography would, by nature, be shallow, superficial and lazy. So why am I, a loyal Sanders fan, so surprised at how shallow, superficial and lazy Confessions is? Eighty-three of the book's white-space-laden 237 pages are taken up by publicity shots of Larry/Garry with Jerry Seinfeld, David Duchovny, Sharon Stone and many of the other celebrities who've appeared on Sanders as themselves. And this despite the fact that Shandling had extra time to write it, since he delivered the book too late for its original May 1998 publication date. But, then, maybe this is all part of Shandling's grand scheme -- Larry would miss his deadline and then turn in a padded piece of crap. Maybe Confessions of a Talk Show Host isn't supposed to be viewed as a book, so much as a piece of interactive performance art that you can experience while riding the train to work. You'd better bring something else to read on the trip home, though.

Actually, Shandling has done a good job of writing in Larry's ironic, "I'm such a putz" public voice (he has no private voice), and at his best, his rim-shot surrealism reminds you of Woody Allen's old humor pieces. In the chapter "Celebrity Sex," Shandling-as-Sanders writes, "I began using the date rape drug Rohypnol. I took it twenty times. I didn't know you were supposed to give it to the woman." In a chapter about Artie, he reveals that their relationship is "more than producer-star, it's been father-daughter, particularly in the sense that after a bad show he'd spank me. He stopped doing that shortly after the Menendez trial."

Shandling also gives his alter ego that requisite for all memoirs, the abused childhood, and provides us with a list of all the female guests Larry says he's slept with, from Paula Abdul to Renée Zellweger. Not surprisingly, Artie, sidekick Hank Kingsley, head writer Phil and all of the other unfortunate members of Larry's staff rate scant mention because, of course, this is a book about Larry. He does, however, devote a touching two paragraphs to "the most important person in my life," his personal assistant Beverly ("I don't really know anything about her").

As an extension of a joke, Confessions serves its purpose; Larry's conceited, meandering, insight-free "tell all" makes you feel ripped off and used, and when you're through with it, all you can think is, "What a jerk!" Which is what Shandling intended. I hope. -- Salon

Bruce Fretts
. . .[J]ust when you're ready to conclude Sanders is suffering from a severe identity crisis, he pulls out his penultimate chapter, a[n]. . .interview with God that Sanders imagines conducting after his death..'If only I could have booked him while I was alive. But. . .Artie would have bumped him for Jewel.' — Entertainment Weekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In its six seasons on HBO (until May 1998), the "Larry Sanders Show" served as a savage satire of the ego-obsessed world of Hollywood. Walking a thin line between fantasy and reality (real celebrities appeared as some version of themselves), host Sanders (played by comedian Shandling) and his dysfunctional "staff" laid bare the peculiar institution of the late-night talk show. While this brief book contains numerous one-liners ("I had to wait until my first marriage to experience sexual abuse"; "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself," said O.J. Simpson), it does not lay down pure patter in the Seinlanguage vein. Rather, it presents a faux autobiography, with the self-deprecating and self-obsessed host recounting episodes from his youth, inventorying his sex life, commenting on his staff and even signing off with an imaginary interview with God. Captions for some 50 photos recount Larry's recollections of guests like David Duchovny and Jennifer Aniston (who refused to "tongue kiss" him). Fans should appreciate this extension of Sanders's edgy lunacy.
Library Journal
Shandling on Shandling.
Brooke Allen
...[F]or "Larry Sanders" fans who haven't stopped craving that old Sunday night fix, even watered-down Larry is a treat, and a lot better than no Larry at all. -- The New York Times Book Review
Sheryl Altman
Like the series, the book blurs the line between fact and fiction....Confessions packs punch line after punch line into its pages....For fans of the show, the book is a must-have...[It] fills in the history of the characters they've grown to love and/or hate during the show's run... -- Biography Magazine

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684812045
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
11/01/1998
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.79(h) x 0.88(d)

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