Late-night TV hosts addressed the horrific massacre in Las Vegas on Monday. Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert, James Corden and Seth Meyers lamented the increasing frequency of mass shootings and contrasted the brave actions of first responders in Las Vegas with the inaction of congress members, who refuse to take even the smallest step towards gun control measures that would prevent one person from killing so many people so quickly.
"I want this to be a comedy show," said Jimmy Kimmel, who moved to Las Vegas when he was nine years old and choked up as soon as he started his monologue. "I just want to laugh about things every night. It seems to be coming increasingly difficult lately. It feels like someone has opened a window into hell."
"I've been reading comments from people who say, 'this is terrible but there's nothing we can do about it,'" he continued. "I disagree with that. Of course there's something we can do about it … When someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn't happen again. When an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, there's nothing we can do about that?"
Kimmel called out hypocritical Senators who send thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families while refusing to write or pass legislation that could prevent this sort of tragedy. "Senator Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan and a number of other politicians – who won't do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip – sent their thoughts and prayers today," Kimmel said. "They should be praying: They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country."
Conan O'Brien took a gentler tone, admitting "I am not the most political of our comics." "But," he continued, "I will repeat what I said after Orlando: I don't think 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."
Stephen Colbert's approach was more similar to Kimmel's. He directly addressed congress members, calling on them to save lives through legislative action. "The bar is so low right now that congress can be heroes by doing literally anything," he said. "… Anything but nothing. Doing nothing is cowardice. Doing something will take courage. But you know what? It took courage for people at the concert last night to help each other as bullets flew. It took courage for the first responders to rush in and do their jobs."
He then pivoted to speak directly to President Trump. "President Trump, you said you wanted to be a transformative president who doesn't care about the way things have always been done in Washington, D.C.," Colbert noted. "You want to make American 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."
James Corden echoed Colbert by urging representatives and senators to come up with concrete ways of reducing mass shootings. "Maybe the time for the thoughts and prayers of congress members has passed," he said. "We need to look to them to actually do something to prevent this from ever happening in the future." "Gun violence should not be a staple of American life," he added. "Some say it's too early to talk about gun control. For those victims last night, it's far too late."
Seth Meyers noted the grim, repetitive nature of societal reaction to these mass killings. "It always feels like the worst displays of humanity in this country are immediately followed by the best [the first responders]," he said, alluding to the brave actions of first responders. "And sadly that is followed by no action at all [from congress]. And then it repeats itself."