Late-Night Hosts Speak Out About Gun Violence in Wake of Las Vegas Tragedy
Late-night hosts dedicated a portion of their Monday night shows to speak out about gun violence in the wake of the tragic events that unfolded in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
The deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history left at least 59 dead and 527 more injured after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas strip.
Nevada native Jimmy Kimmel opened Monday night's Live! with an emotional response to the shooting, choking up as he addressed the news at the start of the show.
"Here we are again in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicable, shocking and painful tragedy — this time in Las Vegas, which happens to be my hometown," he said, holding back tears. "And, of course, we pray for the victims – and for their families and friends and we wonder why, even though there's probably no way to ever know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who were at a concert having fun listening to music."
Kimmel continued, "And, as a result of that this morning, we have children are without parents and fathers are without sons, mothers without daughters. ... It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up. Or give up. It’s too much to even process."
He questioned, "I don't know why do our so-called leaders — continue to allow this to happen? Or maybe a better question – why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?"
The host noted that his stance wasn't about gun control, but about "common sense."
"Common sense says no good will ever come from allowing a person to have weapons that can take down 527 Americans at a concert," he said. "Common sense says you don’t let those who suffer from mental illness buy guns."
Kimmel also addressed White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' comments at a conference earlier this morning during which she said it was "not the time" for political debate: "Well, thank you Sarah, but we have 58 innocent people dead — and it wasn't their time either — so now is the time for political debate."
Kimmel urged viewers to take action and "tell your Congresspeople to do something. It's not enough to send your love and prayers."
Late Night host Seth Meyers began his show by sending his condolences to the families of the victims, and commending first responders and heroic residents who "risked their lives to save stranger."
"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," Meyers said, before sending a pointed message to Congress. "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?"
He questioned Congress members' reasoning for repeatedly insisting "now is not the time" to talk about gun violence, adding, "What you really mean is, there is never a time to talk about it." Meyers ended his message with a plea for transparency: "If you're not willing to do anything, just be honest and tell us. ... If it's going to be thoughts and prayers from here on out, the least you can do is be honest about that."
Trevor Noah similarly tackled the taboo subject of gun control in America on The Daily Show.
"What's particularly heartbreaking is other than the lives lost, I feel like people are becoming more accustomed to this type of news," he said. "I almost know how it's going to play out. We're shocked, we're sad, thoughts and prayers — and then almost on cue, people are going to come out saying, 'whatever you do, when speaking about the shootings, don't talk about guns.'"
Noah noted that the country has run through every possible excuse to avoid talking about guns.
"I've never been to a country where people are as afraid to speak about guns. Every time there's a shooting you got to look at something else. Is it Muslims? Is it there religion? Is that what it is? Is it the blacks? Is it mentally ill people? Is it White Nationalists? Every time it's a different question. Now after this incident in Las Vegas we're asking a new question. Is it hotels?" he said.
Noah concluded his segment with an apology to the victims and their loved ones.
"To the people of Las Vegas, I can't give you thoughts and prayers. I can only say that I'm sorry," Noah said. "I'm sorry we live in a world where people will put a gun before your lives."
Tonight at 11/10c, Trevor responds to the tragedy in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/zUJFboVe1f— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 3, 2017
Conan O'Brien spoke about the "terrible and numbing" tragedy, telling his audience, "When I began in 1993, occasions like this were extremely rare. For me, or any TV comedy host, to come out and need to address a mass shooting spree was practically unheard of. ... Things have changed."
Noting the numerous mass shootings that have occurred over the past decade, he questioned, "When did this become a ritual and what does it say about us that it has?"
"I'm not the most political of our comics, but I will repeat what I said not long ago after Orlando — I don't think it should be so easy for one demented person to kill so many people so quickly," O'Brian added, before concluding with the statement that "something needs to change."
James Corden also addressed the Vegas bloodshed on The Late Late Show. “Last night was the biggest mass shooting in United States history,” Cordon said at the top of the show. “That’s a record that’s been set twice since the two-and-a-half years that I’ve been living in America.”
The British host called for an end of violence and backed-up his argument with a disturbing statistic: that 11,660 people have been killed by gun crime in the past 275 days in this country. “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,” Corden continued. “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.”
This article originally appeared in THR.com.