Jimmy Fallon, Bill Maher pay tribute to Garry Shandling


Jimmy Fallon and Bill Maher say goodbye to the late comedian Garry Shandling

Jimmy Fallon and Bill Maher were just the latest late-night talk show hosts to pay tribute to Garry Shandling, who recently passed away at age 66. The comedians paid their respects during the most recent episodes of The Tonight Show and Real Time, respectively.

Fallon celebrated the life and career of Shandling – who he called “one of the greatest comedians to ever live” – by showing footage from his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1981 when it was hosted by Johnny Carson, and later performed the theme song to It’s Garry Shandling’s Show with house band The Roots. In the stand-up routine, which was also showed during The Daily Show‘s “Moment of Zen” segment the night before, Shandling joked about getting a free pen at the bank, and free clothes at the laundromat.  Fallon also recalled a bit from Shandling’s Showtime special, and touched on how The Larry Sanders Show – a series about a fake talk show – ended up changing the late-night TV landscape. Watch the tribute below:

Maher also took a few minutes out of his show on Friday night to pay tribute to his friend and frequent Real Time guest. The comic said that the last time he saw Shandling was at his birthday party in January where he cracked everyone up. Maher went on to say:

"“I hope he was happy in life. I’m not sure. He always seemed restless. He was searching for something. He was very introspective. He was deep, I’m not kidding. He was deep, but I know for a fact that he was happy when the jokes were flying. When he was making people laugh or laughing at others because he was a very generous audience, and a very generous human being. And professionally I don’t know too many other people about whom it could be said, they had the most innovative TV show in two different decades. And he did. It’s Garry Shandling Show in the ’80s and The Larry Sanders Show in the ’90s. That’s called a legacy…a giant. He will be missed.”"

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Other late-night hosts paid tribute to Shandling the same day he passed away, including Conan O’Brien and Late Night host Seth Meyers. O’Brien fondly remembered the man he viewed as a mentor, recalling how he helped him get through a difficult time in his life after stepping down as host of The Tonight Show during a week-long trip to Hawaii. Conan also showed a clip from a bit he did with Shandling when he hosted the Emmys. Though Meyers didn’t know Shandling personally, he reacted to the news of his passing by recommending that everyone go back and watch The Larry Sanders Show, which he first viewed on VHS tapes owned by fellow SNL alum Jason Sudeikis during their time in Chicago.

Shandling was born in Chicago on November 29, 1949. He later moved to Tucson, Arizona with his family so his older brother Barry could receive treatment for cystic fibrosis, but he later died when Shandling was 10-years-old. After graduating from the University of Arizona, he moved to Los Angeles where he began writing for such sitcoms as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. He would eventually start a career in stand-up after being inspired by a car accident that left him in critical condition. One of his last media appearances was on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in late January 2016 in an episode titled, “It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive.” The comedian passed away of a heart attack on March 24.