Comedian Don Rickles appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live at least 15 times over the course of the past decade, including what turned out to be his last ever late-night guest spot this past October.
When news of Rickles’ death at the age of 90 broke earlier Thursday, Kimmel was one of the first comedians to tweet his condolences. The two men had a special bond, as could be seen on Kimmel’s face, which filled with laughter and delight every time he was in Rickles’ presence.
It was no surprise that Kimmel took time out of his monologue Thursday night to say a few words about his friend. “There will never be another Don Rickles,” he said. “He was probably the greatest talk-show guest of all time.” With that, he presented a compilation of his favorite moments with “the one, the only, Mr. Warmth” Don Rickles.
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert said that while he didn’t know Rickles personally, he did have “the incredible honor” to meet him backstage at the 2008 Emmy Awards when they were both competing in the same category. “The better one of us won, and I went over to congratulate him,” Colbert said. “And he hugged me and told me I was good. And I felt like a made man. Because we all should have his career and be who he was.”
Joking that Rickles was married to his wife for “120 years,” he added, “God bless you, Don Rickles, and thank you. Thank you for everything you did.”
Carrying on the tradition of Johnny Carson, who hosted Rickles on The Tonight Show more than 100 times, Jimmy Fallon paid tribute to the “comedy legend.” The host said, “I’ve personally been out to dinner with him a few times where he said some truly, truly mean things to me, which if you’re a fan, that’s an honor. Our thoughts and prayers go out his family.”
And, finally, over on Late Night, Seth Meyers called Rickles “one of the all-time greats” and told the story of a party they were at together a few years ago. “He was sitting at a table and he was alone,” the host recounted. “And I said to myself, I will always regret it if I don’t go over and say hello to Don Rickles.”
Meyers introduced himself as a cast member of Saturday Night Live and Rickles said he was so sorry to hear the show had been canceled. When Meyers corrected him to say it was still on the air, Rickles replied, “A guy can dream.”
“There’s nothing better than getting burned by Don Rickles,” Meyers added. “I was always very thankful for that and I was very thankful that we got to enjoy his comedy for all these years. So rest in peace, Don Rickles.”