On Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight, we saw the show get off to a decidedly different start than usual. Rather than doing a traditional opening monologue talking about the events of the day, he instead paid tribute to the wonderful Don Rickles. He was one of the most-iconic comedians of all time, and all it took was a couple of seconds for Kimmel to get choked up.
It was pretty clear that Kimmel had a close relationship with Rickles. After all, Don appeared on the show well over a dozen times, and it started with Kimmel bugging him constantly to appear on the show until he convinced him to come on. The two had dinner together a number of times, and it was pretty clear that he ended up loving him as a person just as much as he loved him as a comedian. The relationship here feels almost reminiscent of David Letterman and Regis Philbin, one of the greatest guests that he had on his show so many times.
Probably the part of this video that really gets us more so than any other part is when you start to see Kimmel reading off all of the various notes that he received over the years from Rickles, ones that gave a full scope of the relationship the two had. All of them were loving, but also very funny and very much of the style and the tone that you would come to expect from a comedian of his caliber. While he did care very much for those close to him, he also never stopped being funny.
Even if you’re not a regular Kimmel viewer, we still recommend strongly that you watch this. There are few other late-night tributes like this; Jimmy is one of the last remaining old-school late-night hosts alongside Conan O’Brien (at least in our book), and it felt appropriate that he was the one who gave us a chance to navigate through this wonderful little slice of comedy history.
Our thoughts and well-wishes go out to Don and everyone who loved him during this incredibly different time. (Photo: ABC.)