Ben Stiller is sharing some of his favorite memories of his father, Jerry Stiller, after the comedian's death earlier this month at the age of 92. The actor also opened up about plans for a possible memorial service to Jimmy Fallon during Tuesday's Tonight Show: Home Edition, saying he relished the chance to talk about his dad publicly with the coronavirus postponing the service his family desires.
"I figured it would be good to do it, because it would be a chance to talk about my dad a little bit," Stiller said of appearing on the Tonight Show from home. "It's a weird time now, you know, and people can't really gather together, and you can't do sort of a [memorial]."
Stiller continued that "somewhere down the line" the family will likely have a service "when everybody can get together." Having a formal gathering would be so meaningful for Jerry's friends and family, "because there's so many people who loved him and who he worked with," he continued. "But I thought it would be nice to be able to just have a moment to celebrate him a little bit."
In the days following Jerry's passing, Stiller said there has been a wave of friends and fellow comics who have offered their condolences and memories of the Seinfeld actor. "I mean, just to feel how much he touched people, how much enjoyment he gave people, because I know that he would have felt good about all this," Stiller said. "If you'd ask him, like, 'Do you care about all of, like, the show business aspect of things?' He really did, but he'd always say, 'But what I really care about is my kids and my kids being happy.'"
In the Zoolander actor's own career, Jerry was nothing but his biggest fan, with Stiller telling Fallon his dad "came to everything" when he began acting, calling him a "very, very supportive dad." He took that energy with him into his later life as well, made evident when Stiller retold one of his favorite memories of his father attending granddaughter Ella's fourth grade production of Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
"Afterwards I said, 'Dad, what'd you think?' And he said, 'I didn't care for it, didn't care for it,'" Stiller said, laughing. "I said, 'Dad, what are you talking about?' And he goes, 'Ella was amazing. Ella had the commitment and she was shining up there, but I didn't feel like the rest of the kids were up to it. And he wasn't kidding! ... It was so funny because it really bothered him!"
Stiller also offered his condolences to all the people who have lost family and friends amid the coronavirus pandemic and were unable to be with them in their final days. "I feel very fortunate that I was able to be with my dad," he shared. "It's not like that for so many people right now."