"This is a devastating shock to me and just about everybody I know," O'Brien said Thursday

By Aurelie Corinthios
Updated March 25, 2016 10:15 AM
Credit: Source: Conan/Youtube

brightcove.createExperiences(); Conan O’Brien remembered the late Garry Shandling with a touching tribute Thursday night.

Just hours after he learned that Shandling had died at the age of 66, O’Brien took to his late-night TBS show, Conan, to remember the comedian.

“Several hours ago, before this taping, several of us heard the terrible news that comedian Garry Shandling had died,” O’Brien, 52, said. “This is a devastating shock to me and just about everybody I know.”

And while he hailed Shandling’s work as a legendary comedian (“he was a masterful writer, a performer who went on to create incredibly groundbreaking comedy show that inspired an entire generation of comedians, myself included,”), O’Brien wanted to take the time to remember him for something even more important: his incredible friendship.

“He was extremely sensitive, he was complicated and he had a ton of empathy for other people,” O’Brien said. “That is something that in this business, in comedy, that is very rare. He really did care about other people.”

O’Brien went on to recall how Shandling “just magically appeared” during a particularly difficult time in his life, when O’Brien’s Tonight Show tenure suddenly ended in 2010.

“I woke up the next morning, I had no job and no idea what I was going to do. I was just shell-shocked,” O’Brien said, explaining that he took a trip to Hawaii with his family to clear his head – only to find out Shandling was staying at the same hotel, three doors down.

“This is a week I was supposed to spend with my wife and kids – I spent the entire week with Garry Shandling,” O’Brien said. “And I’ll tell you something, I was at a real low point – he counseled me, her cheered me up.”

“I love you Garry, we miss you,” O’Brien concluded.

Also taking the time to honor the legendary comedian was Late Night host Seth Meyers.

“I never had the chance to get to know him, but I heard he was a great guy,” said Meyers, 42. “The Larry Sanders Show was completely groundbreaking and changed the way I thought about TV and I think a lot of people thought about TV.”

“I just recommend everybody go back and watch that show,” Meyers added. “If there’s any good that can come out this, it would be the rediscovery of what really, truly was a classic.”