1. I just heard the news that Garry Shandling passed away today at the age of 66.
  2. I first fell in love with Shandling's work as a teenager, watching his pioneering meta-sitcom, "It's Garry Shandling's Show." I was even more obsessed with his follow-up, "The Larry Sanders Show."
  3. On Sunday, a friend invited me to a party. We were standing around, talking, when I saw Shandling enter. I couldn't believe it! I was freaking out.
  4. Then I got even MORE freaked out when my friend said he knew him, and introduced me to Garry!
  5. Shandling was laid-back, hilarious (of course) and - in his words - "put on a show" for me and my pal. (The majority of which involved prop comedy with a piece of turkey bacon from the buffet!) Then it was "nice to meet you" and he wandered away.
  6. As the party was wrapping up, I saw him standing alone for a moment. I thought to myself: "Do it."
  7. Go up to him and say, "I just want to nerd out on you for two minutes, I swear."
  8. I wanted to tell him that I used to watch Larry Sanders, thinking, "I want that to be my life SO BAD." All I wanted to do was work in comedy, but everything in my upbringing told me that was impossible. Larry Sanders gave me hope and a road map.
  9. I didn't realize then that the point of the show was how unhappy these people were, because a showbiz career was not enough. I just thought they were brilliant, vulnerable, sexy, hilarious and had the greatest job on the planet.
  10. I wanted to tell him that because of a work project this year, I got out my Larry Sanders DVD box set and have watched at least one episode - sometimes three or four - every night for the past six months.
  11. I wanted to thank him for the DVD extras, where he goes and basically makes amends to people he worked with on the show. The segment between Shandling and his ex-girlfriend Linda Doucett - who played Hank Kingsley's assistant, Darlene - moved me to tears. It's the most honest thing I've ever seen shared by any comedian.
  12. I wanted to thank him for the interview he gave where he said the key to writing Larry Sanders was, "These are characters who are just a tiny bit more kind and loving than you'd expect."
    What a generous view of humanity!
  13. But then another voice said, "Nah, leave him alone." And I watched him leave the party.
  14. This is as close as I'll ever get to thanking him for inspiring me, making me laugh and making me feel less alone. Rest in peace, Garry Shandling!