Comedian Garry Shandling died of a heart attack Thursday at age 66, sending shockwaves through the comedy community. Shandling was best known for his sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, which chronicled the backstage goings-on at a late-night talk show, so it was appropriate that several late-night hosts took the time to pay tribute to a man who influenced them.
Conan O'Brien said that everyone will be talking about what a brilliant comedian Shandling was, so he wanted to talk about Shandling the man, and what an empathetic, caring person he was.
He told a hearfelt story about how Shandling helped him through a hard time when The Tonight Show was taken away from him. O'Brien had a chance encounter with Shandling in Hawaii, where the Buddhist comic helped him put the situation in perspective and reassured him that everything would be all right.
Seth Meyers talked about how important and influential The Larry Sanders Show was to him as a comedian. When Meyers was a struggling comic living in Chicago, he befriended Jason Sudeikis because he had The Larry Sanders Show on VHS. He also mentioned how a repeated line from the show ("It's not 'best of' Larry") reassures him when his show isn't as good as he wants it to be.
"I recommend everybody go back and watch that show. If there's any good to come out of it, it would be to rediscover what is truly a classic," Meyers said.