The Larry Sanders Show: Flip (HBO)
1998 | Home Box Office, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment
Its all-too-brief run of six seasons on HBO was longer than many of television’s real-life late night talk shows. And to many viewers, The Larry Sanders Show must have seemed more real than any of them. Such was the power of both its satire and its behind-the-scenes looks at the egos and insecurities of Larry, his staff, and the many stars who played absurdist versions of themselves to perfection. Last May’s one-hour grand finale brought down the curtain in rousing fashion with a star-studded classic. From Jim Carrey’s riotous send-up of show biz phoniness, to a green room altercation among Greg Kinnear, Tom Petty, and Clint Black, “Flip” was a gut-buster from start to finish. All the while, of course, Larry worried about being “one superstar short.” Garry Shandling, who previously starred in Showtime’s distinctive It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, cemented his credentials as a TV innovator with his dead-on portrayal of Larry. Jeffrey Tambor was a bundle of insecurities as toadying sidekick Hank “Hey Now” Kingsley, and Rip Torn schemed non-stop as Larry’s profane producer, Artie. They were assisted by a colorful assortment of underlings played by talented actors such as Wallace Langham, Scott Thompson, Janeane Garofolo, Linda Doucett and Penny Johnson. The Larry Sanders Show, a previous Peabody winner, richly deserve a second award for its sensational goodbye episode. Sharing in the honors are HBO and the show’s producing company, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment. Goodbye, Larry. We’ll miss you.