Jon Stewart opened The Daily Show on Wednesday by conveying his support for the staff of France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine and their families.
“I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn’t have to be that,” he said. “It shouldn’t be an act of courage, it should be taken as established law. But those guys at Hebdo had it and they were killed for their cartoons.”
The mass shooting that left 12 people dead and 11 others injured, Stewart said, was a reminder that, as much as he and his show poke fun at journalists and lawmakers, none of them are “the enemy.”
“However frustrating or outraged the back and forth can become it’s still back and forth, a conversation amongst those on, let’s call it ‘Team Civilization,'” he said. “And this type of violence only clarifies that reality.”
The attack, he said, dashed any hopes of 2015 offering a respite from the horrible incidents that plagued 2014. But instead of trying to make sense of it all, Stewart added, he and his staffers spent the day “in shock and grief, but also searching for a segue back into a program such as this.”
Stewart said they found such a story — a piece on Nazi-bred cows that had to be put down after trying to kill their British owner.
“It’s a story that combines the difficulty of ridding society of these types of persistent, toxic ideologies,” he explained. “It combines that with a creature that has four stomachs.”
Watch Stewart’s commentary, as posted online on Wednesday, below.