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Jimmy Kimmel leads a famous funny person farewell to Fred Willard (news.avclub.com)

Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live turned out to be an extended response to 2020's latest sucker punch, the Friday death of comedian, actor, improviser, and secret ingredient in a half-century of comedies, Fred Willard. Starting out with a monologue paying tribute to Willard’s long and up-for-anything association with his late-night show, Kimmel played a clip of the night he deadpanned a heartfelt eulogy for the recently deceased, 74-year-old Willard, only to eventually reveal that the very much alive Willard was the one holding up the cue cards for his somber tribute. As it turned out, Willard made it another 12 years, dying at the age of 86 having done countless bits on Kimmel’s show as everyone from the neighbor who beat the crap out of Rand Paul, to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to Donald Trump’s disappointed dad, to reprising his character—stalwart and jumpsuited Captain Thomas Woods, in case you don’t remember—in the latest example of real life being too ludicrous for parody (although some are trying again), 1978's TV movie Space Force.