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.'"

Garry Shandling

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

"Sure enough, he had checked in the day before me and he knew or had heard from somebody, 'Hey, Conan's here.' He called me up. This is a week I was supposed to spend with my wife and kids; I spent the entire week with Garry Shandling," he said. "And I'll tell you something: I was at a real low-point. He counseled me, he cheered me up, he told me jokes, he talked to me about philosophy, he talked to me about how there are bigger things in the world and how I was going to be fine, he'd talk about Eckhart Tolle, he'd talk about all this amazing stuff. We had an incredible one afternoon, the last afternoon that we spent together on that island. We took this really long walk. We climbed over lava formations. We went through a cave. We went to this far part of the island and we saw a little stretch of sand, and we laid down on it, and the sun started to go down. We're both watching the sun go down, and I turned to Garry and I said, 'Garry, this is the most romantic moment of my life and it's with you. I've never had a moment like this with my wife, and I'm having it now with you.' He was an incredibly generous person."

"The first time I hosted the Emmys, I had an idea. He agreed to help us with it. He listened to my jokes; he punched them up. For the great Garry Shandling to do that for me was so special, so generous, and that particular collaboration created a moment for me that was special. I'll never forget it. I thought I would just take a second in honor of Garry, and just take a look," he said before showing the clip. After the segment ended, he said, "I love you, Garry. I miss you."

Meanwhile, Meyers paid his respects on NBC's Late Night.

"We have a great show, but there was some very sad news in the world of comedy, and world in general: Garry Shandling passed away today," Meyers said during his monologue. "Garry Shandling was a legendary comedian. I never had the chance to get to know him, but I've heard he was a great guy. I just want to say a few things about him. He did The Larry Sanders Show, which was completely groundbreaking and changed the way I thought about TV and I think a lot of people thought about TV. And it was a show about a character—a fictional character—who hosted a talk show, a talk show like this. Growing up, watching [Johnny] Carson, [David] Letterman and Conan, those are all people who made me want to host a talk show. Watching The Larry Sanders Show made me think, 'Oh, I don't want to host a talk show. I think that looks like a very scary place to work.'"

Before the taping, Meyers was reminiscing about Shandling with his guest, actress Olivia Wilde. "When I lived in Chicago after college, I was sort of in this improv comedy community, and Jason Sudeikis was there as well. Before we were on SNL together, I didn't really know Jason, but one of the things I knew about him was from the improv community was he had VHS tapes of The Larry Sanders Show, and that was a big deal back then. You wanted to be friends with the guy who had the VHS tapes of The Larry Sanders Show," he said of Wilde's fiancé, adding, "I just recommend everybody go back and watch that show. If there's any good that can come out of it, it would be the rediscovery of what truly was a classic. Give it up for Garry, Shandling."

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.