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The Dead Parrot Flaccid Penis Caper: ‘It’s Garry Shandling’s Show’ Writer Janis Hirsch

Comedy Writer Reveals Lurid Details of Harassment on Set — and Why It Cost Her a Job.

Janis Hirsch writes: In 1986, after only three or four years in Los Angeles, Garry Shandling called to offer me a job on his new show. I don’t remember how I knew Garry well enough for him to call me, but whenever I’d run into him at Hugo’s, we’d share a laugh or two, and once he asked me if I could help him find a snake man. Even though I lived in a snake-free condo, I found him one. And not to brag, but this was before Google.

Anyway, he offered me a job on Showtime’s It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and even though all I knew was the title, that was enough for me. It started out as a lot of fun. A bunch of cool, smart guys and me working on a show where Garry didn’t just break the fourth wall but rode around behind it in a golf cart.

Once we got on the air, we were golden. I was, at any rate; I wrote two of first six episodes, both of which got a nice write-up in the L.A. Times, both of which said nice things about me, the writer, the only woman on staff. What could possibly go wrong?

The guys started excluding me from meetings: “Oh, we couldn’t find you”…at my desk. Then they started excluding me from the table, instead assigning me “the slit scenes” to write. Even though these scenes were the ones that featured the only female castmember, it didn’t occur to me exactly what slit they were referring to until one day in the ladies room.

[Read the full story here, at Hollywood Reporter]

My mantra became, “I won’t cry until I get home.” It was amended to “I won’t cry until I get into the parking lot,” which became “I won’t cry until I get into the stairwell,” which morphed into “Fuck, I’m crying.’

One day, I was sitting in Garry’s office across the desk from him. A few of the writers and one of the actors were in the room, too. I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turned, and there was that actor’s flaccid penis draped on it like a pirate’s dead parrot. Riotous laughter ensued from all but one of us.

A day or so later, Brad Grey, one of the show’s producers, called me into his office. “I understand we have a problem,” he said. He knew! I was so relieved. “So I think you should quit.” Wait, what? This was my problem? Shouldn’t he at least fire me so I could get paid? Nope. I was to do the smart thing and quit. Today … (read more)

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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