Conan O'Brien and Seth Meyers took time out of their respective late-night shows Thursday in remembrance of comedian Garry Shandling, who passed away earlier that day at age 66. Neither Jimmy Fallon nor Jimmy Kimmel, meanwhile, mentioned the comic during their monologues.
O'Brien shared personal memories of Shandling with the Conan audience.
"It's a little unusual today. I'm going to be very honest with you. It's a strange day, today. Several hours ago, before this taping, I heard—and a lot of us heard—the terrible news that comedian Garry Shandling had died. I have to tell you, this is a devastating shock to me and to just about everybody I know. I've had, I think, about three hours to process that Garry is gone and this just doesn't seem real still, and I don't know when it will. In the next few days, and probably weeks, you're going to be hearing a lot and reading a lot about Garry Shandling the comedian, and you're going to hear that he was supremely innovative and intelligent. You're going to hear that he is revered by everyone in comedy, and that is all true—100 percent true. He was a masterful writer, a performer who went on to create incredibly groundbreaking comedy shows that inspired an entire generation of comedians, myself included. But right now I'm not thinking about that aspect of Garry Shandling; I'm thinking about Garry Shandling the person," O'Brien said on his TBS show. "He was obviously hysterically funny, pretty much all the time, but he was also extremely sensitive, he was complicated, and he had a ton of empathy for other people. I want to make that point. That is something in this business, in comedy, that is very rare. He really did care about other people."
"During a particularly difficult time in my life, as fate would have it, Garry just magically appeared—this is true—and he helped me a lot, and that is what I've been thinking about these last couple of hours. I think it's seven years ago now when my Tonight Show ended in this crazy, effed-up, spectacular fashion. I woke up the next morning and I had no job, and I had no idea what I was going to do, and I was just shell-shocked," he recalled. "I was a complete zombie and my wife suddenly had this idea. She said, 'You should go to Hawaii for a week. You should get some sun, for like the first time in 40 years.' I had never seen the sun, and not since. I just thought, 'Maybe that's a good idea.' So my wife, my two kids and I, we got on a plane and we flew to Hawaii. We checked into our hotel room and my wife took our two kids to the beach and thought, 'Let's leave daddy alone.' I just sat alone in this hotel room for, I think, half an hour or 40 minutes, just silent, not knowing what to do. I could hear the ocean. I'm just sitting there, and suddenly the phone rang. And I heard a voice—it's an unmistakable voice—that said, 'Conan, it's Garry. I'm staying three doors down. We're on an island. There's no avoiding me.'"