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  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 26, 2018
The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling Image
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Summary: The two-part documentary by Judd Apatow about the late comedian features interviews with over 40 friends and family, including James L. Brooks, Jim Carrey, Sacha Baron Cohen, David Coulier, Jon Favreau, Jay Leno, Kevin Nealon, Conan O’Brien, Bob Saget, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman.
  • Genre(s): Comedy, Movie/Mini-Series, News/Documentary, Documentary
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Mar 23, 2018
    100
    Diaries is for Shandling fans, certainly, but it’s especially for any kid who might want to become a comic, or write for TV or get into this industry. “Zen Diaries” is a nearly five-hour-long master’s degree in “the business,” and also a sober, clear-eyed view of the risks as much as the rewards.
  2. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Mar 23, 2018
    100
    Apatow’s film overflows with great, smart commentary on who Shandling was and how much of an enigma he remained all his life. ... Apatow is blessedly generous about reminding us how extraordinary Shandling was by including a good number of clips from his standup and his TV shows. In other words, Zen Diaries is very, very funny and very obsessed.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Greene
    Mar 26, 2018
    91
    Diary entries come to life in Shandling‘s own handwriting and illustrate one method Apatow uses to make this film a visually dynamic experience. ... As a tribute, a eulogy, and an appreciation, The Zen Diaries is a even-handed look at someone who sought to bring meaningful change into other people’s lives as he searched for that same sense of fulfillment himself.
  4. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Mar 26, 2018
    90
    Offers a fascinating window into one of comedy's most fertile minds.
  5. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Mar 26, 2018
    83
    Zen Diaries assembles a comprehensive (occasionally too comprehensive) collage from such footage, combining it with home-movies, broadcast clips, vintage audio, new interviews, and excerpts from the copious journal entries the comedian left behind when he died of a heart attack in 2016.
  6. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Mar 26, 2018
    80
    Presented over two nights, but easy to digest in a single sitting, Zen Diaries is a worthwhile account of Shandling's career and evolving philosophy, an insightful exploration of stand-up comedy and the comedic voice, and a sad contemplation and reckoning from those Shandling left behind and those grappling with his legacy.
  7. 80
    Anybody who was inspired and moved by Shandling’s work won’t complain about being able to luxuriate in this exhaustive account. Even the slack portions are intriguing because of the access Apatow has to the records of Shandling’s time on Earth.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. May 14, 2018
    10
    This documentary is brilliant in its study of the man Garry Shandling and even more as a study of humanity. It is incredibly sad and hilarious.
  2. Apr 1, 2018
    10
    A very lengthy 2 part look into this comedian. If you're a fan of his or have followed his career this touches on many of your favorite "Gary"A very lengthy 2 part look into this comedian. If you're a fan of his or have followed his career this touches on many of your favorite "Gary" stories, and a few you probably will hear here for the first time.

    Appatow's perspective is apparent, as is his attempt to align his work with his perception of Gary's wishes. He keeps himself enough behind the camera and not in front of it that you won't be bothered by his presence if you're not a fan.
    Expand
  3. May 13, 2018
    10
    A deeply thoughtful, wonderfully edited doco made with love by a true friend and colleague in Judd Apatow. I laughed, I cried, I felt like IA deeply thoughtful, wonderfully edited doco made with love by a true friend and colleague in Judd Apatow. I laughed, I cried, I felt like I knew the real Garry Shandling by the end of part 2. Exceptional documentary Expand
  4. Apr 27, 2018
    9
    I learned so much that I did not know. I loved all his shows and was like so many who wished he would come out with the next thing. Now hisI learned so much that I did not know. I loved all his shows and was like so many who wished he would come out with the next thing. Now his life and choices make so much more sense. Thanks Judd. Expand
  5. Apr 27, 2018
    9
    What a deep, loving, respectful portrait about a seriously interesting man. I've known about Garry Shandling's talent for some time, but I hadWhat a deep, loving, respectful portrait about a seriously interesting man. I've known about Garry Shandling's talent for some time, but I had no idea what an introspective guy he was. The thoughts that were shared in the form of his journals took this documentary to the next level.

    Is there anything Judd Apatow can't do?
    Expand
  6. Apr 9, 2018
    8
    Solid documentary about the life of the late Garry Shandling, an enigmatic, yet well-known comedian (and inspiration for a generation ofSolid documentary about the life of the late Garry Shandling, an enigmatic, yet well-known comedian (and inspiration for a generation of comics out there). It’s brutal, funny, cringeworthy, sad and hopeful. Given Garry was a big mentor to Judd Apatow, I expected a bit of sentimentality and white wash, but instead came away with a much fuller view of Garry’s life, warts and all. Well worth the watch, highly recommend. Expand
  7. May 13, 2018
    0
    Pretty interesting so far! Want to see more. I'm a huge docu fan, so always looking for more to add to my must watch list - this is close.

See all 8 User Reviews

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