One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Museum of Television & Radio's twentieth annual William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles. Held this year at the Directors Guild of America Theatre Complex, the festival celebrates the excellence and diversity of American television and is dedicated to television's creative community.

This evening honors celebrated writers and producers of comedy. Los Angeles Museum vice president and director Barbara Dixon moderates the evening's discussion, and she begins by introducing the panel, which consists of the following members: Judd Apatow, writer of programs such as "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared"; Phil Rosenthal, creator, writer and executive producer of the successful series, "Everybody Loves Raymond"; Darren Star, creator and executive producer of the highly popular HBO series, "Sex and the City"; Larry Wilmore, creator and executive producer of "The Bernie Mac Show"; and Garry Shandling, writer, creator and executive producer of programs such as "The Larry Sanders Show" and "The Garry Shandling Show."

The panelists then introduce their respective clips which are screened. Next, Dixon asks each member of the panel to discuss what attracted him to a career in comedy. All five panelists note other comedians or programs which inspired them: Judd Apatow credits watching "Saturday Night Live" and the work of Steve Martin; Phil Rosenthal speaks of Norman Lear and "All in the Family" as being strong influences; Darren Star mentions the significance of 1970s movies such as "Shampoo" and "Carnal Knowledge"; Larry Wilmore speaks of watching Flip Wilson perform as "Geraldine"; and Garry Shandling cites his comedic influences, Woody Allen and George Carlin. Barbara Dixon then asks about the future of the sitcom considering the proliferation of reality-based television programming. All the panelists agree that reality-based television programming is not "real." Garry Shandling notes, ". . . none of its real, and its heading to pornography (if it doesn't end soon)." Phil Rosenthal adds that reality television ". . . is the end of civilization as we know it . . . is not reality at all . . . it's escape from reality." He also notes that the success of this genre is cyclical. Apatow admits that he does indeed watch reality programs, but vows never to create one. Next the panelists take questions from the audience, which lead to a discussion of the following topics: the development process and the differences between network and cable television; the reasons behind HBO's success; pitches for new programs that the panelists have made to television executives that failed; and, using laugh tracks versus a live audience. The panelists are then asked to share any advice they may have to aspiring comedy writers and discussions about the rules of comedy and overcoming writer's block ensue. Lastly, Barbara Dixon thanks the panelists for their attendance.


  • DATE: February 26, 2003 Wednesdasy 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:49:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:75673
  • GENRE: Seminars


    • Barbara Dixon … Moderator
    • Judd Apatow … Panelist
    • Phil Rosenthal … Panelist
    • Garry Shandling … Panelist
    • Darren Star … Panelist
    • Larry Wilmore … Panelist