Garry Shandling, who pioneered new forms of comedy in his stand-up, and a new take on the idea of a talk night show with the very meta Larry Sanders Show, passed away at 66 earlier today. In a moving and deeply personal monologue on tonight’s show, Conan O’Brien attempted to express the real magnitude of this loss. “I have to tell you, this is a devastating shock to me and just about everybody I know,” O’Brien said. He went on to share an anecdote about how, after losing his hosting gig on The Tonight Show, he ran into Shandling during a vacation in Hawaii and ended up spending a whole week with the fellow comedian. “He really did care about other people,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien also shared an old interview with Shandling and a bit from his turn hosting the Emmys in 2002, which features an appearance from Shandling in the audience.
Seth Meyers also paid tribute to Shandling at the beginning of his show, recalling how he befriended Jason Sudeikis, because Sudeikis had VHS tapes of The Larry Sanders Show. “Everybody go back and watch that show,” Meyers added. “If there’s any good that can come out of it, it would be the rediscovery of what truly was a classic.”
On Friday night, Jimmy Fallon shared Garry Shandling’s first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1981 and performed the theme song to It’s Garry Shandling’s Show with the Roots. “everyone who has a talk show knows probably every episode to these shows,” he said.
On Real Time With Bill Maher, Bill Maher shared his memories of his good friend. “I know for a fact that he was happy when the jokes were flying, when he was making people laugh, or laughing at others,” Maher said, “because he was a very generous audience and a very generous human being.”
This post has been updated throughout.