Conan O’Brien took a break from comedy to address the horrific shooting in Orlando, Fla. that left 49 dead and 53 injured during his opening monologue on Monday night. Rather than tell jokes, the funny man remained serious while questioning why any American has access to semi-automatic weapons.
"Our goal, obviously night after night, is to be funny and silly if you’re in the mood for that late at night," O’Brien said. "However, sometimes events are so horrifying and bleak that to come out here and tell jokes just…it’s not really possible. And tonight, sadly, is one of those nights."
He continued: "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 still impossible to fathom. That so many people can lose their lives so quickly because of one person’s demented rage will never make sense and God help us if it ever does."
The comedian went on to say that he has tried over the years "not to bore" audiences and keep his political opinions to himself. Obviously, the mass shooting on Saturday could not be ignored. "I am a father of two. I like to believe I have a shred of common sense and I simply do not understand why anybody in the country is allowed to purchase and own a semi-automatic assault rifle," he said, receiving a huge applause from the audience. "It makes no sense to me. These are weapons of war and they have no place in civilian life."
After trying to "understand this issue from every side," O’Brien concluded that "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," before adding that "these mass shootings are happening so often now that lamenting them afterwards is becoming a national ritual."
O’Brien closed with, "I do not know the answer but I just wanted to take just a moment here tonight to agree with the rapidly growing sentiment in America that it’s time to grow up and figure this out," before letting the audience know how they can help. For those looking to pitch in, head over to GoFundMe.com/PulseVictimsFund.