At a time when the nation is grieving, late night hosts did not attempt to crack many jokes on Monday night. In the wake of the tragic Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub, which left 50 people dead and 53 injured, hosts from TV’s most popular shows took a moment to speak out about the tragedy and what it means for our country.
Some, like Jimmy Fallon and James Corden, who addressed the topic while hosting the Tony Awards on Sunday night, talked of love and coping with the loss. While others like Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien used the senseless act to take a firm stance on the need for gun control reform in America. And Seth Meyers featured a “Closer Look” segment in which he broke down the incident with details about what happened, the reactions, and how politicians responded.
Here are some excerpts from their monologues:
Conan O’Brien (Conan): "I am not a pundit. I am not an expert and I have always, always made it a policy to stick to my job and keep my opinions to myself. I have really tried very hard over the years not to bore you with what I think. However, I am a father of two. I like to think I have a shred of common sense, and I simply do not understand why anyone in this country is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle. These are weapons of war and they have no place in civilian life."
Jimmy Fallon (Tonight Show): "I, as a new father, am thinking ‘What do I tell my kids? What can we learn from this? What if my kids are gay? What can I tell them?’ Maybe there’s a lesson in this, a lesson in tolerance… This is just one bad guy here, 49 good people, and one bad guy, and there will always be more good than evil… Keep loving each other, keep respecting each other, and keep on dancing.
Seth Meyers (Late Night): [Quoting Donald Trump’s tweet] ‘Appreciate the congrats’? I don’t know who’s been congratulating Donald Trump, but they may want to redirect their congratulations to the first responders or those waiting in line to give blood. They’re the ones who deserve congrats and they’re not asking for it… So while there were some who were busy callously exploiting the tragedy to spread bigotry and misinformation, let’s keep in our hearts the victims and applaud the acts of love and humanity that poured forth in Orlando and across the country because at the end of the day that’s what will endure."
Stephen Colbert (The Late Show): "It’s as if there’s a national script that we have learned and I think that by accepting the script we passively accept that the script will end the same way every time with nothing changed. Except for the loved ones and the families of the victims for whom nothing will ever be the same. It’s easy, it’s almost tempting to be paralyzed by such a monstrously hateful act, to despair and say, ‘Oh that’s the way the world is now.’ Well, I don’t know what to do, but I do know that despair is a victory for hate… Love is not despair, love makes us strong, love gives us the courage to act, love gives us hope that anything is possible, love allows us to change the script."
James Corden (Late Late Show): "Obviously a tough day yesterday and to be amongst that Broadway community that have always been so welcoming to the LGBT community was incredible. The news was so horrific and so heartbreaking… We are with you every step of the way."
Trevor Noah (The Daily Show): "We know how this always plays out. We’re shocked, we mourn, we change our profile pictures, and then we move on because it’s become normal. And I’m sorry, but it’s not normal and it shouldn’t be normal… It is glaringly obvious. America needs to make it a lot harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get guns."
Samantha Bee (Full Frontal): "Love does not win unless we love each other enough to fix our f**king problems."