Don Rickles died at the age of 90 Thursday, and the world of comedy will never be the same.
Late night host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel gave an emotional, often tear-filled tribute to the comedy legend, who was said to have had a heart of gold while turning insult comedy into an art form.
Clip via Jimmy Kimmel Live
“I’m gonna cry,” Kimmel said right off the bat. “I’m not very good at this sort of thing,” he admitted, with his voice already cracking.
Kimmel described Rickles as “youthful and funny and sharp and generous” and said that despite his years, he’d died too young.
Although Rickles played some memorable roles on both television and film, he was primarily known for his stand-up routine, which meant that Las Vegas was a second home to him where he could perform and hone his craft.
That’s one reason the ABC late night host was so emotional — Kimmel was raised in Vegas.
Another more personal reason was that the two had bonded later on, and it was especially when talking about that relationship — one friend to another, one comedian to another — that Kimmel really appeared to break down.
Kimmel’s 12-minute-plus monologue was filled with hilarious and touching anecdotes about the comic legend.
Rickles’ first appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” was in 2006, and Kimmel said it made him feel like a real talk show host for the first time.
“He would always ask about my parents, my kids, when my Uncle Frank passed away, I asked him to be the guest on that show,” Kimmel said — at which point he broke down again. “Which was a tough show. And he helped all of us through it.”
Rickles came from the old school of performers — when entertainers actually entertained.
Although he was known as an insult comedian, the insults never reached the point of being abusive. “Hockey puck” was a favorite term he’d call his victims. But the way he delivered his lines was uproariously funny.
Unlike today’s entertainers, he was also patriotic, and when World War II came upon us, he signed up.
The tributes continued on social media.
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— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) April 7, 2017
@RollingStone RIP Don Rickles…
— R. C. Clemens 🐢 (@rawxe) April 7, 2017
@RollingStone Jimmy showed a a lot of class. The tribute was great! RIP, Don…you were one of a kind.
— Rob Varese (@RobVarese) April 7, 2017
— Allysa Mentor (@AllysaMentor) April 7, 2017
— Leanne Biello (@LeanneBiello) April 7, 2017
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