Late-Night Hosts Break From Jokes to Address Orlando Shooting

From Conan O'Brien to Trevor Noah, late-night got serious about mass shooting.

June 14, 2016, 11:30 AM

— -- The late-night hosts put all jokes aside Monday night as they opened their shows by addressing the mass shooting in an Orlando gay nightclub that killed 49 and wounded 53 others.

"Our goal, obviously, night after night is to be funny and silly if you're in the mood for that late at night. However, sometimes events are so horrifying and bleak that to come out here and tell jokes, it's not really possible," Conan O'Brien said at the opening of his late-night TBS show. "And tonight sadly is one of those nights."

Acknowledging that he is not a pundit or an expert and has always made it a policy to "stick to my job," O'Brien, a father of two, said he could not understand why anyone in America is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle, similar to the weapon used by the gunman in the Orlando massacre.

"It makes no sense to me," he said to applause.

"These mass shootings are happening so often," he added, "that lamenting them afterwards is becoming a national ritual."

Jimmy Fallon, also a father of two, wondered aloud "What do I tell my kids? What do I tell them about this? What can we learn from this? What if my kids are gay? What do I tell them?"

"Maybe there's a lesson in all of this, a lesson in tolerance," Fallon said. "We need to support each other's differences and worry less about our own opinions. Get back to debate and away from believing or supporting the idea that if someone doesn't live the way you want them to live, you just buy a gun and kill them, bomb them up. That is not okay."

He concluded by sending out a message to Orlando. "Keep loving each other, keep respecting each other and keep on dancing," he said.

Stephen Colbert encouraged his "Late Show" audience to break free from the despair felt after far too many of these tragedies.

"I do know that despair is a victory for hate," he said. "Love does not despair. Love makes us strong. Love gives us the courage to act. Love gives us hope that change is possible."

He then reminded his audience that love is a verb.

"To love means to do something," he said.

Trevor Noah echoed Colbert's comments, telling his "Daily Show" crowd that despite how frequent these mass killings have become, they shouldn't be considered normal.

"Because we know how this always plays out: We’re shocked, we mourn, we change our profile pics, and we move on," he said. "It’s become normal."

Then, referring to his South African heritage, he said, "I’m sorry. Maybe it’s because I’m new, but it’s not normal. And it shouldn’t be normal. We shouldn’t allow this to be normal."

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