Comedian Shandling spent so many years playing tiresome postmodernist tricks on the award-winning It’s Garry Shandling’s Show — oooh, talking to the camera; how radical! — that it was easy to forget that he’s an extremely effective stand-up comic. His Gary Shandling: Stand Up brisk hour demonstrates just how good he is. Like a lot of comics, Shandling works variations on Woody Allen’s neurotic-worrier persona, but he has made the pose his own on the strength of an affable attitude (unlike Woody, he’s resigned to his nerdiness) and solid jokes (“I’m middle-of-the-road politically; I’ve never burned a flag, but…I’ve never put one out, either”).
Shandling’s act reaches a high point of wit in a long, amusingly aimless anecdote about taking a standard White House group tour, accidentally meeting George Bush, and being invited to a state dinner. ”I thought he said steak dinner; boy, was I disappointed.” B+