Jimmy Kimmel gave an emotional opening monologue as a tribute to the late great insult comedian Don Rickles, who died yesterday at 90-years-old.


Kimmel took the stage, teary-eyed, on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night to discuss and celebrate his long-time friend. “This is not gonna be our usual show tonight,” Kimmel started off. “And I’m gonna tell you right up front, I’m gonna cry. I’m already crying, which is embarrassing, but… well, I’m not good with this sort of thing… but we lost someone that we and I love very much today and again I’m sorry for hearing this just now for the first time, but Don Rickles passed away this morning.”

“I was fortunate enough to not only have Don on this show as my guest, but also to become close to him and his wife Barbara [Sklar],” he added. Kimmel spent over nine minutes talking about the beloved comic and sharing stories about the time the two spent together. He even read some personal notes that Rickles had sent him over the years, each one sent via overnight mail. “He spent more than $500 for postage alone, so,” he joked before reading a few to the audience.

“Dear Jimmy, thank you so much for the beautiful frame of you and I,” one read. “Who needs Sinatra, your picture of us together is much more important. Please don’t show this note to anyone ’cause it could cause harm to me and my family. Love Don.”

And, “Jimmy, thank you so much for the bottles of wine, we’ve been so busy crushing grapes with our bare feet hoping to have wine for the holidays, and you came to the rescue just in time.”

After Kimmel’s speech, the show played a video tribute to Rickles, with clips from the many appearances the comedian had on the show. In total, Rickles was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! 18 times.

You can see the whole tribute below.

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