No laughter. No clapping. A somber host speaks to a somber audience about senseless tragedy that once again took the lives of innocent Americans. It has become an all too familiar occurrence. Almost as familiar as gun violence in America.
After a lone shooter posted up on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with 23 guns and shot round after round into a crowd of concertgoers Sunday night, killing 59, comedians were once again forced to make sense of a tragedy as they opened their shows the next day.
“Here we are again – in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicably shocking and painful tragedy. This time – in Las Vegas. Which happens to be my hometown,” Jimmy Kimmel said in his monologue on Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
“It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up. Or give up,” Kimmel said, choking up numerous times throughout the segment.
“It’s too much to even process. All these devastated families who now have to live with this pain forever because one person with a violent and insane voice in his head managed to stockpile a collection of high-powered rifles – and used them to shoot people.”
“Terrible things happen in the world,” Stephen Colbert began on Monday’s Late Show. “Sometimes, like today, we feel that they’ve risen to a new level. But we can’t accept that as a new normal. Today, the president called this an ‘act of pure evil,’ and I think he’s right.”
“So, what, then, are we willing to do to combat ‘pure evil?’” Colbert asked. “The answer can’t be nothing. It can’t.”
Colbert, Kimmel, Trevor Noah, James Corden, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers—all called for Congress and Donald Trump to take some action to try anything at all to prevent what has become status quo tragedy in America.
“Doing nothing is cowardice. Doing something will take courage. But you know what, it took courage for the people at that concert last night to help each other as bullets flew, and courage for the first responders to rush in and do their jobs. It took courage for people in Las Vegas simply to go about their day today.”
“President Trump, you’ve said you want to be a transformative president who doesn’t care about the way things have always been done in Washington,” Colbert said. “This is your chance to prove it. I mean this sincerely, you don’t owe the Republicans anything. You know the Republicans tried to stop you from being president. Screw ‘em!”
“Want to make America great again?” he continued. “Do something the last two presidents haven’t been able to do: pass any kind of common sense gun control legislation that the vast majority of Americans want. Because if we are facing ‘pure evil,’ then by all means offer thoughts and prayers. But think about what you need to do, and pray for the courage to do it.”
“Last night was the biggest mass shooting in United States history,” James Corden said on the Late Late Show, the night after the tragedy in Las Vegas. “That’s a record that’s been set twice since the two-and-a-half years that I’ve been living in America.”
“Now I come from a place where we don’t have shootings at this frequency so it’s hard for me to fathom, but it should be hard for everyone to fathom.”
“Gun violence should not be a staple of American life. Some say it’s too early to talk about gun control. For those victims last night, it’s far too late.”
“It always seems like the worst displays of humanity in this country are immediately followed by the best, and then sadly, that is followed by no action at all. And then it repeats itself,” Seth Meyers said on Late Night of the Las Vegas shooting.
“I would just like to say – are there no steps we can take as a nation to prevent gun violence? Or is this just how it is, and how it’s going to continue to be?”
“Because when you say — which you always say — ‘Now is not the time to talk about it,’ what you really mean is, there’s never a time to talk about it. And it would be so much more honest if you would just admit that your plan is to never talk about it and never take any action.”
Conan O’Brien talked about how ridiculous it is that he has to continuously do this on his show. “I’ve been doing this job for more than 24 years, and when I began in 1993, occasions like this were extremely rare. For me or any TV comedy host back then to come out and need to address a mass shooting spree was practically unheard of. But over the last decade, things have changed.”
“Now, today when I came in to work, my head writer was standing in my office with a sheaf of papers and he said, ‘Here are the remarks you made after the Sandy Hook shootings and the Pulse nightclub attacks in Orlando. You might want to look at them to see what you might want to say tonight.'”
“And that, that struck me. How could there be a file of mass shooting remarks for a late-night host? When did that become normal? When did this become a ritual? And what does it say about us that it happens?”
“What’s been particularly heartbreaking is other than the lives lost is how I feel like people are becoming more accustomed to this type of news, every single time.” Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show.
“I almost know how it’s going to play out. We’re shocked. We’re sad. Thoughts and prayers. Then, almost on cue, people are going to come out saying, ‘Whenever you do, when speaking about the shootings, don’t talk about guns.'”
“This is not the time to be talking about guns? … And also, if you say after a mass shooting is never the time, then you’ll never have the conversation, because there’s a mass shooting in America almost every single day. So when is the time?
Jimmy Fallon opened The Tonight Show a little differently. He said a few short words about the tragedy, saying “This morning, we woke up to the news of another senseless shooting, this time in Las Vegas. In the face of tragedies and acts of terror, we need to remember that good still exists in this world. We’re here to entertain you tonight, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
He then handed the stage over to Miley Cyrus and Adam Sandler, who performed Dido’s “No Freedom.”