Get the latest from TODAY
Late night's funnymen came out in force Thursday night to honor the late, great Don Rickles, who died at age 90 of kidney failure.
But while tributes poured in from "Tonight Show's" Jimmy Fallon, "Late Night's" Seth Meyers and "Late Show's" Stephen Colbert, none of them seemed as visibly affected as Jimmy Kimmel, who spoke about his friend through tears.
Dedicating his opening monologue to the comedian and already choked up, Kimmel said, "We lost someone that we and I love very much today ... And I know it sounds crazy to say that he was too young — but he was because he was youthful and funny and sharp and generous and 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 which was a lot of fun for me."
Kimmel talked about growing up in Las Vegas where Rickles was always a big name in lights, and noted it was a highlight when he himself became worthy of "Mr. Warmth's" scorn:
"Sitting behind a desk while Don Rickles made fun of me," he said. "It was like being a real talk show host for a minute ... He was a funny guy; I know that's not a news flash."
He pulled out notes Rickles had written him over the years which were perfect representations of the comedian's humor and spirit, full of thanks ... and one-liner insults.
In the end, Kimmel offered up condolences to Rickles' family, and before playing a video in honor of the comic noted, "There will never be another Don Rickles. He was probably the greatest talk show guest of all time."
Fellow late-night hosts also found room in their shows to honor the King of Insults.
Fallon noted on his show after the monologue, "He was a comedy legend and he's been on 'The Tonight Show' countless number of times; I personally had been out to dinner with him a few times where he said some truly, truly mean things to me, which if you're a fan that's an honor."
Meyers seems to have had a similar (if briefer) experience with Rickles, noting that when he met him at a party, "He just looked at me and said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry to hear 'Saturday Night Live' was canceled.'"
Meyers then told Rickles the show was still on the air. "And then he just went, 'Ugh, a guy can dream.' ... There's nothing better than getting burned by Don Rickles."
"Conan" host Conan O'Brien also sent up a tweet of condolence:
But he wasn't always the insult king; Colbert's experience was more with Mr. Warmth.
On his show, Colbert recalled losing an Emmy award to the legend, and got an embrace afterward.
"He hugged me and told me I was good," said Colbert. "And I felt like a made man because we all should have his career and be who he was ... God bless you, Don Rickles, and thank you."
Truer words were never spoken ... ya ol' hockey puck.
Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.