Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah and Other Late Night Hosts Tackle Orlando Club Shooting
Most late night hosts have now returned to the air for the first time since the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people, including the shooter, dead. The hosts faced the task of addressing the massacre and then somehow segueing into what's typically a comedy show.
However, even under the guise of comedy, the sentiments from the hosts were a mixture of rage, sadness and disbelief at the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Here's how some late night hosts covered the aftermath of the Orlando shooting.
Full Frontal — Samantha Bee
Bee expressed frustration at not only at the massacre itself, but the aimless platitudes that followed suit from politicians. Specifically, she called out Florida Gov. Rick Scott for suggesting that the best response to a mass shooting, like Orlando, is to pray.
"Until we as a nation find the political will to reject a mass shooter per day as the price of freedom, I'm just going to pray," Bee said, sarcastically before beginning a faux prayer. "Are you there, God? It's me, Sam. Please, bless the victims and their friends and families in their time of unspeakable pain. Give us the courage to say 'no more.' And while you're at it, please send the NRA a plague of boils. Amen."
The Daily Show — Trevor Noah
As Noah noted, President Barack Obama has had more mass shooting addresses than he's had State Dinners. In response, he had a fitting analogy for America's willingness to stay the course on gun laws, despite the plethora of mass shootings that have occurred.
"When I was young I didn't tie my shoelaces," Noah said.
I would run around, I would trip on my shoelaces, I would fall down and cry. "Mommy! Mommy! I fell!" And my mother would ask, "Why did you fall?" "Because I tripped." "Why did you trip?" And she goes, "Your shoelaces." ... And we'd realize I fell because of my shoelaces. I'd tie them then move on... I could've said, "Mom why are you bringing shoelaces into this conversation? Why are you blaming the shoelaces for something the sidewalk did to my knees? Who even says there's a connection between anti-shoelaces and falling anyway? You're violating my right to keep my shoelaces untied!" I didn't say that ... I realized after falling, after falling a lot, that there was a connection between my shoelaces being untied and getting hurt.
You can watch Noah's monologue on Orlando here.
Conan — Conan O'Brien
Though Conan rarely shares his personal opinions on his late night show, the comedian took exception on Monday night to address the Orlando shooting. Broadly, his message was simple, but resonant: People in America shouldn't be allowed to purchase guns with an enormous capacity to kill, like the semi-automatic rifle used by shooter Omar Mateen.
"These are weapons of war and they have no place in civilian life," he said.
I have tried to understand this issue from every side and it all comes down to this: Nobody I know or have ever met in my entire life should have access to a weapon that can kill so many people so quickly. These mass shootings are happening so often now that lamenting them afterwards is becoming a national ritual. I do not know the answer but I wanted to take just a moment here tonight to agree with the rapidly growing sentiment in America that it's time to grow up and figure this out.
The Late Show — Stephen Colbert
Despite being the host of The Late Show for less than a year, Colbert has already addressed a similar situation in the Paris terrorist attacks. On Orlando, he lamented how the process of grieving over these tragedies have become almost routine and scripted — for the likes of politicians, the president and even as a late night host — because they're so commonplace.
"It's as if there's a national script that we've learned, and I think by accepting the script, we tacitly accept that the script will end the same way every time, with nothing changing," he said. "Except for the loved ones and the families of the victims, for whom nothing will ever be the same."
The Nightly Show — Larry Wilmore
The host swiftly criticized Donald Trump in the aftermath of the shooting — highlighting the GOP frontrunner's tweet from Sunday in which he gave himself credit for "being right on radical Islamic terrorism."
"Yes Donald, you were really ahead of the curve on the whole, 'Terrorism is bad' thing," he said. "I mean honestly, who brags about this? It's like your doctor saying, 'Yo dude I totally called it, you do have cancer man.'"
You can check out Wilmore's full monologue on the Orlando shooting here.
Late Night — Seth Meyers
Meyers steered the conversation of the Orlando shooting to an issue of gun control, noting that — regardless of the shooter's opinions on LGBT people, or his ISIS ties — the amount of killing was possible because he had access to a semi-automatic rifle.
"This was an attack on LGBT people fueled by bigotry and hatred," Meyers said. "And the shooter was apparently inspired by ISIS. But we're gonna talk about guns, because whether the shooter was a homophobe, mentally ill, a terrorist inspired by ISIS or all three, what allowed him to kill so many people on Sunday was his gun. And that means we're likely about to enter yet another contentious national debate about gun control."