Like many late-night hosts Monday, Conan O’Brien admitted that customarily, his job is to make people laugh but sometimes it’s simply impossible.
“Sometimes, events are so horrifying and bleak that to come out here and tell jokes is not really possible,” he explained to the audience. “At a time when we think we’ve heard the worst stories about senseless violence in our country, that it couldn’t possibly get worse, the news out of Orlando yesterday is just impossible to fathom.”
He remarked that the reality that so many people can lose their lives “because of one person’s demented rage will never make sense. And, God help us if it ever does.”
O’Brien clarified that he’s not an expert or even a pundit. He said that he works hard to keep his opinions to himself and not to bore the audience with what he thinks. However, on this night, he made an exception.
“I’m a father of two, I like to believe I have a shred of common sense, and I simply do not understand why anybody in this country is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle. It makes no sense to me,” he said to applause from his audience.
“These are weapons of war,” he continued. “And they have no place in civilian life. I have tried to understand this issue from every side and it all comes down to this: Nobody I know, or have ever met in my entire life should have access to a weapon that can kill so many people so quickly. These mass shootings are happening so often now, that lamenting them afterwards is becoming a national ritual.”
He acknowledged he doesn’t have the answers, “but I wanted to take a moment tonight to agree with the rapidly growing sentiment in America, that it’s time to grow up and figure this out.”