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Jon Stewart told The Daily Show audience that he did not do his job when preparing opening jokes for Thursday's show. He instead delivered a passionate, heated monologue about the shooting that took nine lives at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday.
"I've got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina," Stewart -- who will be leaving The Daily Showin August -- said. "Maybe if I wasn't nearing the end of the run or this wasn't such a common occurrence, maybe I could have pulled out of the spiral. But I didn't. And so I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence we do to each other and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal but we pretend doesn’t exist."
"I'm confident though that by acknowledging it -- by staring into that and seeing it for what it is -- we still won't do jacksh*t," Stewart continued, garnering a few awkward laughs from the live audience. "Yeah. That's us. That's the part that blows my mind. I don't want to get into the political argument ...what blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves."
"We invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over five or six different countries, all to keep Americans safe," Stewart, clearly emotional, said. "Nine people. Shot in a church. What are you going to do about that? 'Hey, what are you going to do? Crazy is crazy is, right?' That's the part I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around. And you know it. You know it's going to go down the same path."
The passionate 52-year-old comedian didn't stop there.
"I heard someone on the news say, 'Tragedy has visited the church.' This wasn't a tornado. This was racist," Stewart said. "I hate to use the pun, but this one was black and white. There’s no nuance here. But we’re going to keep pretending. We are steeped in that culture in this country and we refuse to recognize it."
The Comedy Central host added, "The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina. And the roads are named for Confederate generals. And the white guy is the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him. We’re bringing it on ourselves."
Stewart somberly concluded, "Al Qaeda, all those guys -- ISIS. They're not sh** compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis."
After the tragic events in North Carolina, social media was filled with condolences for those that died and their families. Beyonce even posted a photo in memory of the victims.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry also spoke out about the shooting, recalling his time spent at the famous church. "I grew up in the AME Church. My aunt and uncle are pastors and a bishop in the church," Perry tweeted. "I know these kinds of prayer meetings well and I've been in a lot of them! It could have been any of us!"
My heart and soul go out to the families of Emmanuel AME church!!
"The AME church, so close to home for me, so personal. What do you do when you think prayer is not enough? You pray some more," he continued. "My heart and soul go out to the families of Emmanuel AME church!!"