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Comedian Garry Shandling Dies At 66

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're going to take a moment now to remember Garry Shandling. The actor-comedian died today. He was 66. Shandling was known as a comedian's comedian. He starred in the TV shows "The Larry Sanders Show," a sendup of the talkshow and "It's Gary Shandling's Show."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS THE THEME TO GARRY'S SHOW")

BILL LYNCH: This is the theme to Garry's show. This is the theme to Garry's show. Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song.

(LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: Shandling started as a writer for sitcoms "Sanford And Son" and "Welcome Back, Kotter" but got his big break with a standup routine on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1981.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON")

GARRY SHANDLING: I love going to the laundromat because you see people wearing the last thing they want to wear. Have you ever noticed that?

(LAUGHTER)

SHANDLING: People are wearing Bermuda shorts and Nehru jacket, and...

(LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: He talked about that moment on WHYY's FRESH AIR back in 2007.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

SHANDLING: When I was done, I remember hearing Johnny say - well, first of all, he thanked the talent booker on the air, which is just shocking. He actually turns, and he says, thank you, Jim, which was his - to Jim McCauley (ph), who saw me at The Comedy Store. And then he just said into the camera, you're going to hear a lot about that guy.

And I don't know that anything has topped that in terms of being a comedian. And while that's about ego, there's something much more about it. There's something about the fact that it was just meant to be, and you could feel it in the room. There was a place where the audience broke into applause and Johnny fell off his chair. And you know, I'm not that funny. I'm not that funny.

CORNISH: That was Garry Shandling remembering his first appearance on "The Tonight Show." Shandling died today at the age of 66. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.