Late-night TV hosts decry Las Vegas killings, gun laws
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Late-night comics decried the Las Vegas mass shooting as a confounding and repetitive American tragedy, with Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah lashing out at politicians who oppose gun control.
“I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen,” Kimmel said on his ABC show Monday, the day after the worst shooting in modern U.S. history claimed at least 59 lives.
“Or maybe a better question — why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?” said an emotional Kimmel, who noted that Las Vegas was his hometown.
He slammed Republican congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, saying it was good they sent prayers to Las Vegas but “they should be praying to God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”
Kimmel’s show ended on a different tone: Luke Combs, who’d performed at the Las Vegas country music concert that night of the attack, sang “Used to You” to honor the shooting victims.
On Comedy Central, the South African-born Noah said he was dismayed by how many mass shootings he’s seen in just two years in America and mocked current GOP legislation aimed at loosening gun rules.
“Just to give you an idea of how far away America is from actual gun control, this week Congress is going to vote on deregulating gun silencers. Because I guess Congress is thinking gun violence is out of control: ‘How can we make it quieter?’” Noah said.
“To the people of Las Vegas, I cannot give you thoughts and prayers. I can only say I’m sorry that we live in a world where people would put a gun before your lives,” he said.
CBS’ James Corden, a native of England, issued his own polite call for gun control.
“Forgive me, because I’m just a foreigner here and some of you may feel I have no place to say this, but how does every other developed country do a better job at preventing these attacks?” he asked.
Stephen Colbert, who regularly targets President Donald Trump, took a different approach Monday.
Agreeing with Trump’s labeling of the Las Vegas shooting as an act of “pure evil,” Colbert added, “So then, what are we willing to do to combat pure evil? The answer can’t be nothing.”
The CBS host challenged Trump to go his own way on gun control without heeding his political party’s stance.
“You want to make America great again? Do something the last two presidents haven’t been able to do. Pass any kind of common-sense gun control legislation, that the vast majority of Americans want,” Colbert said.
On TBS, Conan O’Brien said that when he started in late-night more than two decades ago it was “practically unheard of” for hosts to need to address a mass shooting. But things have changed, he said, a point that was driven home when his head writer presented O’Brien’s previous remarks on other recent mass shootings to consider for Monday’s remarks on Las Vegas.
“When did this become a ritual? And what does it say about us that it has?” O’Brien said.
Acknowledging that he’s “not the most political of our comics,” O’Brien said he felt compelled to repeat what he said about the 2016 nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 victims died.
“I don’t think it should be so easy for one demented person to kill so many people so quickly. The sounds of those automatic weapons last night are grotesquely out of place in a civilized society,” he said.
NBC’s Jimmy Fallon told viewers that in the face “of tragedies and acts of terror, we need to remember that good still exists in this world. We’re here to entertain you tonight.” He then introduced Miley Cyrus and Adam Sandler, who performed Dido’s “No Freedom” in honor of the shooting victims.
Lynn Elber can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.