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March 25, 2016

We remember one of our greatest heroes; one of the most important figures in the history of comedy.

We have gathered the thoughts and tributes from friends and fellow comedians below, via public statements, social media, and comments shared with us at Funny Or Die.

The greatest gift Funny Or Die ever gave me was an introduction to my hero, Garry Shandling. A few years ago I mentioned that I had heard Garry Shandling had a secret Sunday afternoon basketball game. I quickly found out that some of our founders played in that game. Which was incredible to me, because I couldn’t believe that people actually got to be friends with Garry Shandling. I had idolized him since I was a kid and the mere idea of meeting Garry Shandling, let alone being his friend, was something I couldn’t fathom.

Before I knew it, Chris Henchy introduced me to Garry and I was invited to go up to Garry’s house to spend an afternoon with him. I’ll never forget walking through his house to his kitchen. I was walking behind him and he kept turning around and telling me to relax. I kept assuring him that I was fine, and he just kept nodding and telling me to relax. Then at one point he stopped and said, “You’re welcome here.” Garry had a way of putting people at ease and letting them know that he was on their side. His heart and his home were always open and his friends were always welcome.

In the years that followed Garry became one of my closest friends and like so many of his friends I thought of him as my family. Garry was a teacher, he kept multiple copies of his favorite books in his house, partially because he often misplaced things, but mostly because he always wanted to be able to share the things he loved with the people he loved. For so many of us, Garry was our first call. If things were good or if things were bad, you knew you could call Garry and he would drop everything to be there for you. He always knew what to say, and always had the funniest jokes in the saddest moments.

Garry’s mentor Roy London taught him that everything is about love. All the motivation in acting and writing and living, it’s all about love. If you asked Garry what The Larry Sanders Show was about he would say that people call it a dark comedy, but for him it was a show about love.

No one understood love like Garry. He gave his whole heart to everyone he knew and that’s why we are all so sad today. We miss that love that Garry gave so completely to everything he did and everyone he knew. Today I feel as lucky to have had him as a friend as I am heartbroken that he’s not here right now.

(Note to self: email Garry for a joke to end this with.)

— Alex Richanbach, Funny Or Die Writer/Director/Producer

He set the standard and we’re all still trying to meet it. He gave us all opportunities to learn how to do the best work of our lives. But, more importantly, as I knew him these last few years, he was a person who never stopped trying to be a better person. That’s yet another way he inspired me and I’m sure many others who knew him.

— Bob Odenkirk

Garry would see the ridiculousness of me being asked to sum up his life five minutes after being told of his passing. It is a perfect, ridiculous Larry Sanders moment. I can imagine how Hank would handle it, but I just don’t know how to sum up someone I loved so much who taught me everything I know and was always so kind to me. I am just too sad. Maybe tomorrow I will do better.

— Judd Apatow

Every comedy generation has a few artists who make a mark forever. Garry was surely one. His standup and Tonight Show hostings were effortlessly hilarious. His neurosis made me feel human. His first series was sensational, but the second is one for the ages. We worked together on our projects, but for me our mutual respect and laughs for our low-self esteem was magical.

— Richard Lewis

Without Garry Shandling there would be no The Office or Extras. He was a huge influence on my work and a comedy hero.

— Ricky Gervais

I loved Garry very much. Garry was very important to me, not only as a comedy genius, someone I admired greatly for his comedy but he was very good to me personally.

— Howard Stern