As they have had to do several times over the past year, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon had to talk to their viewers about a tragedy. The two comedians opened their shows with statements on the mass shooting in Orlando, the worst in U.S. history, at the gay nightclub Pulse. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured.
Colbert had the columns of the Late Show set lit in the colors of the rainbow. In his monologue, he said that most of his viewers know what people will say after a tragedy like this.
“It’s as if there’s a national script that we have learned,” Colbert said. “And I think that by accepting the script, we tacitly accept that the script will end the same way every time, with nothing changing.” He continued that accepting this with despair “is a victory for hate,” which “wants us to be too weak to change anything.”
Fallon gave a tearful monologue to open The Tonight Show. As a new father, Fallon wondered what he could tell his kids about the tragedy and suggested there was a “lesson of tolerance” to take from this. “We need to get back to being brave enough to accept that we have different opinions and that’s OK because that’s what America is built on.”
Seth Meyers began Late Night with a special “Closer Look” segment on the shooting.
On Sunday night, John Oliver was the first host to discuss the shooting.