Shandling died Thursday of a heart attack. His death was met with an outpouring of praise and condolences from fellow comedians and actors.
Fallon’s tribute consisted of the host’s candid musings about Shandling’s funniest bits; he spoke to his audience casually as though discussing a fallen peer among friends.
“He was just the best,” Fallon said. “I just love him. He was one of the greatest standup comedians ever. If you’re thinking about getting into standup comedy, or if you just like watching it, you can’t go through without seeing Garry Shandling.”
Fallon then shared a clip of Shandling’s first “Tonight Show” appearance with Johnny Carson in 1981.
The late-night host joined the Roots to sing his rendition of the theme song to “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” originally performed by Bill Lynch.
“This is the theme to Garry’s show/The theme to Garry’s show/Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song,” Fallon sang.
Fallon announced that his favorite clips of the comedian’s “Tonight Show” appearance would be compiled for viewing on the show’s website, TonightShow.com
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.