The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling: Season 1 (2018)

Season 1
The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

Critics Consensus

Masterfully assembled by Judd Apatow, The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling is an affectionate tour through the life and philosophy of the comic icon.



Critic Ratings: 16


Audience Score

User Ratings: 41
User image


Air date: Mar 26, 2018
Air date: Mar 27, 2018

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling: Season 1 Videos

Tv Season Info

News & Interviews for The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling Season 1

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (9)

"He was everything he needed and was never given, to everyone," Sarah Silverman says. The power of Zen Diaries is that it allows you to share, for a few hours, a sense of what that must have felt like.

Mar 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Even if the film didn't actually include footage from a ceremony remembering and celebrating Shandling's life, you'd feel like you were already part of one.

Mar 26, 2018 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
Top Critic

Rather than directing his torments onto others, Shandling seemed to offer a sense of collective neurosis, begging people to realize that our insecurities are perhaps the connective tissue between us all.

Apr 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Shandling lived a restless, complicated life. The Zen Diaries foolishly tries to clarify who Shandling was in a way the man himself never could, but as a primer and testament to his talent, it's a lovely tribute.

Mar 30, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Zen Diaries comes away with a fascinating, complex portrait of a man as unpredictable as he was hilarious, a comedy pioneer who lived in constant terror of being forgotten and ignored.

Mar 29, 2018 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Over the course of 4.5 hours in The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, Apatow gives us an authentic view of someone that he called not only a mentor but a friend.

Mar 26, 2018 | Full Review…

This biographical study, dipping into Shandling's private diaries and home movies, captures it all... in an artfully compiled two-parter (concluding tomorrow night) that is surprisingly, and unforgettably, spiritual and inspirational.

Mar 26, 2018 | Full Review…

A funeral was the spark of Judd Apatow's big two-night, four-hour documentary on his comic mentor "The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling"... And if Shandling was still around, he'd get the self-deprecating humor in that.

Mar 26, 2018 | Full Review…

It's not all pleasant - it turns out that some of those neuroses were real... As a whole, it's an extraordinary piece of work.

Jul 30, 2018 | Full Review…

At the end of Shandling's life, the documentary suggests, love had won.

Mar 28, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Even the slack portions are intriguing because of the access Apatow has to the records of Shandling's time on Earth.

Mar 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Mostly, The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling justifies its sprawling form. It's bittersweet, very funny and does right by the man and the comic world that gave him so much insecurity and so much success.

Mar 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling: Season 1

  • Jul 09, 2018
    "He was everything he needed and was never given." I think if I decide to look at this 4.5-hour documentary as something of a spiritual sequel to Funny People it will only make what is already a stunning achievement that much more impressive. I didn't know much about Shandling prior to seeing this, but as of now I've already ordered the complete series of The Larry Sanders Show (for both the show itself and those DVD extras).
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2018
    Really interesting, I didn’t know much about Shandling but this documentary was fascinating and made me want to watch more of his stuff.
  • Apr 04, 2018
    This documentary is one of the most beautiful and profound films I have seen in my long life. It's not "cinematic" but the lessons of Garry's life emerge through the most excruciating journey, filled with pain and disappointment, followed ultimately by love, enlightenment, and death. One indication of shandling's impact on his peers is the fierce love and tender anxiety they display in discussing their mentor. Shandling became, oddly - given the immense cynicism and vanity implicit in his on-stage persona -- the dhali lama of american comedy. one comment, by conan o'brien struck me. he said that Shandling saw what he did not as "show Biz" but rather comedy as an art form, his work as performance art. this film reveals shandling simaltaneously with life revealing itself to him. you come to understand, and echo, the love so many had for this profound, sad, intrepid man. When death comes to claim him, you feel the sense of losing a close friend. Apatow has made not just a moving tribute to a long-time friend, but a deeply meaningful instruction video on how to live life despite its harsh turns.
  • Mar 30, 2018
    Unless you were a personal friend of garry shandling, you had no idea who he really was. this two-part documentary lets you into his spirit. At times, it is painful or sad to watch but the person you get to meet will enrich your life.

News & Features