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Tearful Jimmy Kimmel Recalls Don Rickles and How Much He Meant to the Late Night Host

On Thursday (April 6), the world lost one of the finest comedians to ever hold a microphone: Don Rickles. Last night, Jimmy Kimmel honored his close friend and mentor with a genuine, biting and tearful tribute that was full of the wit Rickles was famous for throughout his career.

As Kimmel explained during the opening of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Rickles was a family friend who begged to be on the show. He finally made his first appearance back in 2006 and in the ten years since, Rickles appeared as a guest numerous times, particularly to roast the late night TV host. No appearance was recalled more fondly than the time Rickles agreed to be on the show following the passing of Kimmel’s beloved Uncle Frank in 2011. (The comedian was no stranger to late night television, however, having been a staple of the genre for years, sticking it to everyone from Johnny Carson to David Letterman throughout his illustrious career.)

After sharing some classic tales of what Rickles was like when he was around friends—pretty much exactly the same quick-witted wisecracker—Kimmel offered up some notes and messages Rickles had written him over the years. To explain any of the jokes here would ruin Rickles’ special brand of humor, so it’s best to just listen to Kimmel to get an understanding of how Rickles came to be known as “Mr. Warmth,” above.

Thanks to the host’s truly touching opening monologue, you can really get a sense of what Rickles meant to Kimmel on and off screen.

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