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Point of View Archives - Ardent Pictures

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Garry Shandling: With Zen and Comedy

Originally scheduled as a ‘Friday Fun’ post regarding Garry Shandling’s appearance on Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, this has changed to a ‘Point of View’ post where I say goodbye to one of my comedy heroes.

Garry Shandling died suddenly last Thursday March 24, at age 66, of an apparent massive heart attack.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with his stand up and with the shows he created and starred in, ‘It’s Garry Shandling’s Show’ (1986-1990) and ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ (1992-1998). A truly inventive and original voice in comedy, he created these groundbreaking shows of the 80s and the 90s that are still emulated today.

‘It’s Garry Shandling’s Show’ was the meta sit-com that had Shandling playing himself in front of a studio audience, that broke the fourth wall, with an incredible theme song* that included the lyrics “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…” Continue Reading →

The Museum of the Street

In the summer I was contacted by the curators of The Museum of the Street, an exhibit and archive of prominent illustrators in Canada. They were interested in the inclusion of my father, Peter Swan’s, work. As most of his illustrations were sold during his career, and he passed away in the 1990s, I was concerned about being able to provide them with enough material. They requested original artwork as well as published tear sheets. The few originals I have gracing my walls at home are paintings, but where to find the illustrations of his prolific career? The countless magazine and book covers, story illustrations, postage stamps? What did he do for Esquire Magazine, and what about the Mona Lisa with Telephone? It was an involved process, having to track work down, to be able to contribute to and attend meetings, to consider what pieces to include.

A curator told me that the genesis of the project was asking the question, “What ever happened to the work of Peter Swan?”

A biographical overview of my father was requested, over which I proceeded to fret and sweat. Simply put, we had always been very close, and I felt the responsibility of representing him as he himself would do.

I had just finished my first draft, when I found the old portfolio case of his that he had given me for my own drawings when I was a kid. Incredibly, in it I found a school composition I wrote when I was about eight; a biography of my father. Why on earth had I been sweating over it? Apart from an over enthusiasm for exclamation marks at the time, clearly I’ve been writing the same goddamn thing for thirty years.

Continue Reading →

My Road Trip with David Letterman

For decades, broadcast television has peopled our lives with folks joining us in our living rooms, creating a curiously one-sided intimacy.

When I heard that David Letterman was retiring, I couldn’t believe it. It’s impossible to imagine a television landscape without him. Most nights he was the last person I saw before bed: in my living room when I was a kid; then as a teenager; and now as some kind of pretend adult-thing as it’s coming to an end.

It was on a road-trip to Mexico that I first saw Late Night with David Letterman.
Though I always wanted to, I’d never managed to do Mexico by road again until right now. Here I am, finally in the midst of that trip, right when Letterman’s run on the Late Show is coming to an end. It feels like a long and personal circle is being closed. Continue Reading →