Larry Sanders: 10 Episodes That Will Make You a Fan
Good workplace comedies transform the mundane to the absurdly hilarious. When the workplace is set in show business, the gags are bigger and the stakes higher. The Larry Sanders Show pushes the envelope in the way only a TV show about a TV show can. Whether you're rewatching the series or discovering it for the first time, these 10 episodes will show you why The Hollywood Reporter called this workplace comedy “an artistic success of stunning brilliance.”
Season 1, Episode 3: “The Spiders Episode”
“I saw them backstage...the spiders...they’re huge. They look like big hairy potatoes with legs in ‘em. I’m gonna have dreams.” — Carol Burnett
Seduced by the allure of “huge laughs,” Larry reluctantly agrees to let a bug man race tarantulas up his arms during the show. If Larry’s debilitating fear of spiders isn’t enough, the show’s other guest is Carol Burnett who gets an eyeful while rehearsing a Tarzan-themed slapstick sketch. After Larry backs out of the spider segment, Artie gives it to Hank who gratefully seizes the opportunity, but the segment does not run as planned.
Season 1, Episode 8: “Out of the Loop”
“I am telling you, nothing beats that missionary position!” — Hank
Larry’s distance from his staff becomes apparent when he is late to learn Jerry and office assistant Sally have been fornicating all over the office. To remedy, Larry demands Artie grant him more of an open door policy. Artie reluctantly agrees and soon Larry is bombarded with gripe after complaint after boring life story from his entire team. Lesson learned: Being in the loop is for the birds.
Season 1, Episode 10: “The Party”
“I’m from Chicago, and when we have parties, we invite actual friends, and we have fun, and we talk about whatever comes up.” — Jeannie
Being married is work. Being married to a late night host — as Jeannie Sanders (Megan Gallagher) knows all too well — is a 24-hour job. In a last ditch to save their marriage, Jeannie and Larry agree to host a dinner party with Artie and his (fifth) wife, Elaine. Larry, stressed about his limited guest list, hastily invites Beverly, creating a ripple-effect throughout the office. The night turns even more sour when Jeannie locks herself in the bedroom with the guests’ coats.
Season 1, Episode 13: “The Hey Now Episode”
“Why don’t you shove it up your ass? Or do you already do that commercial?” — Larry
When Larry gets wind that Hank is prioritizing commercial endorsements over the show, he takes it out on his sidekick in the pettiest way possible: by forbidding Kingsley’s signature catchphrase. Unable to utter “Hey, now” at every turn, Hank threatens to leave The Larry Sanders Show, altogether. In a twist of finale fate, Larry puts pride aside and admits he needs Hank next to him on the couch every night.
Season 2, Episode 15: “Off Camera”
"If you don't shut the fu*k up I will kick you in the nuts so hard, your dentist will have to work around them at your next cleaning." — Artie
It's all-out chaos behind the curtains: Guests John Ritter and Gene Siskel quarrel over a film review backstage, leaving Ritter with a bloody nose and an axe to grind. The audience can hear the staff’s antics during the show, which Artie tries to keep from Larry. Despite his efforts, Artie finds it difficult to silence a reporter from Entertainment Weekly, who happens to be on set.
Season 3, Episode 6: “Hank’s Night in the Sun”
“You don’t understand. This is gonna go right to his head. He’s gonna be a huge, huge pain in the a**.” — Larry Sanders
When Larry gets a bad case of food poisoning an hour before the show, Artie opens a can of worms by asking Hank to host. Hank rushes around the office in an excited tizzy until he panics and realizes he actually has to host the show. Hank doesn’t do as badly as anticipated, but everyone’s worst fears are realized when he transforms from a humbly-grateful sidekick to an out-of-control asshole.
Season 4, Episode 3: “Arthur After Hours”
“I clean up shit all day, you clean up shit all night. It’s different shit, but we’re the guys pushing the broom.” — Artie
At a breaking point after a difficult show, Artie drowns his sorrows and spends the night on the set where he befriends a janitor, Nicolae, and process the trauma of his subservience to Larry. Still, his many sacrifices -- happiness, career growth, even basic dignity -- prove his dedication to the timeless manta: The show must go on.
Season 4, Episode 7: “Hank’s Sex Tape”
“Is it just me, or is Hank really hung?” — Larry
A contract to be the face of Southern Orange Growers hangs in the balance as Hank affirms his wholesome image with the organization’s publicity director. That night, the writers happen upon a sex tape labeled “Hank’s Birthday” while rummaging through his desk drawer and distribute it around the office. As Hank struggles to recover the tapes, his focus narrows: to secure the endorsement deal any cost.
Season 5, Episode 1: “Everybody Loves Larry”
Larry: “Do any of your friends think I’m gay?”
Brian: “I don’t think they think about sex when they watch you.”
David Duchovny’s alleged obsession with Larry provokes the host to question his own preferences. Larry’s introspection, however, evolves into a panicked conversation with Hank’s gay assistant, Brian. Larry must face letting guest host Jon Stewart interview Duchovny while asserting his own heterosexuality -- and later becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of taking The X-Files star up on his offer to spend the weekend at his beach house.
Season 5, Episode 2: “My Name Is Asher Kingsley”
“No one wants me to wear the yarmulke on the show. But I’m standing tough. I’m standing tough like the Hebrews at Masada.” — Hank
After reconnecting with his Jewish roots -- and an attractive rabbi, Hank “Lepstein” demands his faith be acknowledged by the office. Hank clumsily flaunts his conversion, despite warnings from Artie that his newfound piety would disrupt the show’s secular ethos; his lack of awareness is exemplified by the inside-out yarmulke he wears on stage.