Garry Shandling’s death at the age of 66 on Thursday caught his fans off guard. And nowhere is the man’s loss more deeply felt than within the world of comedy, where Shandling is revered not only for his decades of innovative and very funny work, but also as a genuinely kind person. As news of the star’s death spread, tributes began pouring in from Shandling’s fellow comedians and actors. Steve Martin took to Twitter to recall Shandling’s generosity:
Other comedy notables did likewise:
Marc Maron, who memorably interviewed Shandling back in 2011 for his WTF podcast, reposted the episode on his website so that fans could enjoy the conversation once again. In so doing, he added a little preamble about what the episode meant to him at at time.
It was a pretty amazing and sweet interview, and I was very nervous about it. He was a very respected and brilliant guy. I didn’t know him. We were not close friends. But between his work as a stand-up and on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and Larry Sanders, of course, how could you not be in awe of that guy? What a hilarious and brilliant guy. I think Judd Apatow helped me set it up, and I remember it was one of the first times I actually had a celebrity’s e-mail, other than Judd’s, and I didn’t know how much I was supposed to pester him or whether we could make it happen. I remember going back and forth with him. Even his e-mails were hilarious.
Shandling’s Larry Sanders Show co-star Jeffrey Tambor also released a very sweet statement, but maybe the most touching tribute came from Conan O’Brien, who devoted an entire monologue of his TBS talk show to the late comedy star:
After acknowledging the brilliance of Shandling’s work, O’Brien talked about the man himself, complimenting the Larry Sanders star on the rare empathy he showed for other human beings. O’Brien related an anecdote about a dark period in his life following his spectacular dismissal from NBC’s Tonight Show, when he was unsure about what to do with his life. The shell-shocked host took his family on a vacation to Hawaii, where Shandling also happened to be staying, and the two ended up spending the week together. Shandling also helped O’Brien out when the latter was hosting the Emmys, helping him create a memorable bit in which he romances Jennifer Aniston. “I love you, Garry,” O’Brien said. “We miss you.”