Someone recently remarked that it was entirely possible that Ronald Reagan is a hologram. While that idea may reflect a certain frustration over finding the sticking points of our first Teflon President, it also reflects an alarm over how much our lives are both informed and manipulated by the media.
Comedian Garry Shandling has taken the premise one step further--how many people can you fool if you offer the 25th anniversary of a show that never existed?
"Garry Shandling's 25th Anniversary Special" will begin airing Wednesday on Showtime and, according to Shandling, "about 1,700 more times in the month of January." The premise grew out of an idle conversation in a car with a friend. "We thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to have an anniversary special when you've never had a show?,' " Shandling said. "This will operate out of a talk-show format and is a vehicle not only for things that went wrong, but for historical recollections, such as Woodstock, the change in hair styles. It's easy to parody talk shows, because they've become such parodies of themselves."
As a former sitcom writer and stand-up comedian, Shandling, 36, was once touted as a replacement for Johnny Carson until it was generally conceded that not only can Carson never be replaced, but that he'll probably go on until the next Ice Age.