The massacre at Pulse in Orlando has left many things in its wake: fear, anger, disbelief and most of all, profound sadness and grief. On last night’s CONAN, Conan O’Brien’s opening monologue ran the spectrum of those emotions as the host put comedy aside and used his platform to send a different kind of message.
“Sometimes, events are so horrifying and bleak that to come out here and tell jokes, just, it’s not really possible,” Conan begins. “And tonight, sadly, is one of those nights.”
Part of what makes Conan’s comments so powerful is that they are coming from him: a relentlessly silly and self-deprecating comic who, as he reminds us, does not make such politically charged statements lightly. “I have always, always made it a policy to stick to my job and keep my opinions to myself,” he says. “I have really tried very hard over the years not to bore you with what I think.”
But when it comes to what he thinks, Conan does not mince words. “I simply do not understand why anybody in the country is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle,” he says. “It makes no sense to me. These are weapons of war, and they have no place in civilian life.”
Conan winds down his solemn monologue with one of its saddest and most damning statements: “These mass shootings are happening so often now that lamenting them after is becoming a national ritual.”
“It’s time to grow up and figure this out,” he concludes.
Watch the CONAN clip above, and support victims of the Pulse shooting here.