How Garry Shandling Helped Conan O’Brien Move on After Losing ‘The Tonight Show’ (Video)

“He had a ton of empathy for a ton for other people … That is something in that this business, in comedy, is incredibly rare,” TBS late-night host says in his tribute

Conan O’Brien opened Thursday’s episode of his TBS late-night show remembering comedian Garry Shandling, who died earlier in the day at the age of 66.

“I have to tell you that this is a devastating shock to me and just about everybody I know,” O’Brien said in his somber monologue. “I’ve had about three hours now to process that Garry is gone, and this just doesn’t seem real, still.”

Noting that Shandling, who was best known as the creator and star of “It’s Garry Shandling‘s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” was a “masterful” writer and performer who inspired him as a comedian, O’Brien opted to instead discuss his personal relationship with the late comedian.

“He was obviously hysterically funny, pretty much all the time,” he said. “But he was also extremely sensitive, he was complicated. And he had a ton of empathy for a ton for other people … That is something in that this business, in comedy, is incredibly rare.”

O’Brien revealed that after he lost his gig as the host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” in 2009 in what he called a “crazy, f–ked up, spectacular fashion,” it was Shandling who helped him get over the career hurdle.

“I woke up the next morning, and I had no job, and I had no idea what I was going to do. And I was just shell-shocked. I was a complete zombie,” O’Brien said.

The late-night host ended up taking a week-long vacation to Hawaii with his family, but when Shandling realized they were staying at the same hotel, things didn’t go as initially planned.

“I spent the entire week with Garry Shandling,” he said, explaining how the comedian spent the week consoling him, including one incredibly “romantic” afternoon the two spent together. “He was an incredibly generous person.”

Watch the video.