Jimmy Kimmel Breaks Down in Tears During a Touching Don Rickles Tribute

Jimmy Kimmel broke from his usual laugh-filled opening monologue on Thursday night to give an emotional tribute to late comedian and friend Don Rickles.

The famous comedian died today at his house at Los Angeles from kidney failure as the publicist Paul Shefrin announced. He remained a frequent guest, and it was Johnny Carson himself who dubbed Rickles "Mr. Warmth", a nickname that stuck with him for the entirety of his career. In total, Rickles was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Jimmy Kimmel told his audience that it would be far from a normal show.

"He hugged me and told me I was good", Colbert said with a smile, emotion welling in his voice. "So God bless you, Don Rickles and thank you". He grew up listening to Rickles as a kid in Las Vegas, and eventually became friends with the legendary comedian.

While Kimmel's video is a fitting tribute just from his show, this clip captures the full picture of how long Rickles has been insulting people and getting smiles in return.

'It was so exciting. He'd tell me to keep his name alive, which I thought was amusing because, you know, 'You're Don Rickles. The relationship here feels nearly reminiscent of David Letterman and Regis Philbin, one of the greatest guests that he had on his show so many times. The episode also included a highlight package of Kimmel and Rickles' best moments together, and Kimmel reminiscing about Rickles' life and career with Adam Sandler. "I know it sounds insane to say he was too young, but he was, because he was youthful and so amusing and sharp and generous".

Kimmel said Rickles appeared on JKL after being asked "over and over". 'We had food, I invited his friends - it was attractive. It was very expensive, OK? "At the end of the meal, he said, 'I can't believe you took me to a pizza place'".

The AARP Studios project hasn't been released yet and it's unclear if it ever will be.

After sharing his condolences via Twitter Thursday, the 49-year-old host spent the first 12 minutes of his show honoring the late comedian.

Colbert talked about the "incredible honor" of meeting Rickles backstage at the Emmys. "My thoughts are with his family today".

Late Night's Seth Meyers called Rickles "one of the all-time greats" and shared one of his favorite memories of the comic.

Vanessa Coleman