Beloved comedian and television star Garry Shandling passed away on Thursday (Mar. 24) at the age of 66. His close friend and mentee Conan O'Brien learned the news about three hours before taping his TBS talk show, and still somehow managed to gracefully pull off a beautiful, extended remembrance. After acknowledging Shandling's influential, always-revisitable work in stand-up and television (like HBO's '90s series The Larry Sanders Show), Conan said:
"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. And 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.”
Conan went on to recount how Shandling's guidance helped him through the whole "Leno is actually taking his Tonight Show back, little dude" debacle, which was a serious bomb on Coco's life.
Amy Wallace's keystone 2010 GQ profile actually opened with a vignette of Shandling and O'Brien's chance meeting. A large portion of the article explored Shandling's prolific mentor side. "A generation of people at the top creative rungs of Hollywood credit Shandling with shaping both their material and their careers," Wallace wrote, going on to share loving quotes from Sarah Silverman, Robert Downey Jr. and Judd Apatow.
The Larry Sanders Show is also returning to HBO and the network's streaming services, The Wrap reported. For now, watch a best-of Garry-n-Conan clip that also airede last night: