Yes, lyrics. In conjunction with Judd Apatow’s ‘The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling’


Judd Apatow’s The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling premiered this past Monday (part 1) and Tuesday (part 2) on HBO. Given the comedic parties involved in creating this documentary I expected to frequently laugh,… which I did.

But, it’s also incredibly moving and made me think. Deeply.

Shandling was a bit of a mystery man. Prior to jumping in, I was very intrigued by the fact that he had these piles of notebooks that served as a catchers mit for much of his thoughts, emotions, ideas and jokes. I am an avid notebook subscriber myself. I literally have an entire dresser filled with completed notebooks that typically serve a similar purpose. Though, I don’t believe any contain a single original joke, they are filled with quotes, ideas, article outlines, interview questions, photos, garbage, goals, stickers, more garbage, and anything else I feel like jotting down at the time.


Photo by: Frazer Harris/Getty (R)

On Tuesday, Apatow, who is also sincerely influenced by music, shared a video from 2016’s Bonnaroo Festival, where he and Eddie Vedder performed a song comprised of Shandling’s words straight from his notebooks. Vedder wrote and performed the song based off Shandling’s writings, and Apatow layered in the jokes (and harmonies), also straight from the Shandling’s zen diaries.

The rest speaks for itself. Within each crafted verse lies a profound life lesson. While each represents a great piece of advice for anyone, it’s the second in line that shines a perspective on both the film and the fascinating life of Garry Shandling.

‘Cause whatever I do, it will be Garry Shandling
and that is who I am, I am who I am”


Dear Mind
Since you are the source of all my misfortune I will completely annihilate you
Dear Mind
Be still, be still and see what happens
Funny or not, get off my back so I can climb out of this hole

Stage fright is caused by not living in the now
It is caused by living in the future
Will I play my role well?
Will I be liked?
What will I say?
Just get up and do whatever Garry Shandling would do
There is no reason to be anxious
’Cause whatever I do, it will be Garry Shandling
and that is who I am, I am who I am

There is no reason to be afraid because I am being me
And all I have is me, what I do, who I am, is all that I have
I do what I do, what the hell difference does it make what others think
What they think and what I am is my center of existence 
They are someone else


Remember when you were hit by a car?
Death was in your face and you realized
That just to live even with nothing is a more than a fair trade
What do you need?
Nothing
If you had everything you would still have to face death, let go of everything and see what’s left

If you live another 3 weeks be grateful
If you live another 3 years be grateful
Live each day as the last
Don’t be attached to life
Only in this razor sharp moment do you exist
Learn til the end
Awareness til the end
Is it cheating to be anything but a monk if you know that is the true path?

Keep your heart open, keep your mind clear
Have fun, make fun for others
Open heart kindness, truth and compassion
Find joy and follow your instincts
While you are here, be who you are
And if you don’t know anything
The one thing you do know is that you have no idea what you don’t know

Dear Mind
Left it all on the field, left it all on TV
To finally live in this moment
Grateful to be
Grateful for we



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~ follow Jeff Gorra | twitter @JeffGorra |[email protected]

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