Thursday night Conan reacted to the news that Garry Shandling had suddenly and unexpectedly died by replacing his monologue with a tribute to a man who had once helped him in his lowest time.
Only hours after hearing the news, Conan took to the stage and said that it was hard to process that this had happened – it just didn’t seem real to him. In his monologue, Conan said about Shandling, “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,” he said. “But right now I’m not thinking about that aspect of Garry Shandlng, I’m thinking about Gary Shanding the person.” Conan went on to describe a kind man who had a lot of empathy for others and described him as very caring. He shared a story about how Shandling counseled him seven years ago, after Conan was depressed over losing the Tonight Show.
Conan and Shandling had run into each other when Conan ran to Hawaii to try to deal with things. They spent the week together during Conan’s low point, and Conan remembered: “he counseled me, he cheered me up he told me jokes he talked to me about philosophy, he talked to me about how there were bigger things in the world and I was going to be fine.” Conan joked that by the end of the week he was telling Shandling that they had shared the most romantic moment of his life there together. Conan shared a clip from the 2006 Emmy Awards show when Conan shared another romantic moment with Shandling.
After his monologue, Conan praised Shandling’s skills as a brilliant writer, and introduced a series of clips showing Shandlings greatest jokes from past appearances on Conan’s show. Stay with it to the end, to hear Gary Shandling talk about ‘The Wall’ back in 2007 long before Donald Trump started dominating American political discussions.