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In the face of tragedy, laughter is catharsis. And yet, it is often the sober, reflective and hope-grasping words of comedians that best capture the immediate pains of the moment, commiserating with the still-stunned public.
New York’s favorite adopted son and late night icon David Letterman took to the air just six days after the attacks of September 11, offering a subdued but determined and ultimately optimistic show that reflected the city’s grief and steel will. Jon Stewart gave a rousing monologue — and even shed tears — at his Daily Show desk several nights later. Those shows are still remembered, and in a new era of instant communication, it is comedian/actor Patton Oswalt‘s Facebook note — posted just hours after the carnage boomed — that has become the rallying for a confused and hurt people after the Boston Marathon bombing that took place on Monday.
STORY: Boston Marathon Bombings: 5 New Developments
“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, ‘Well, I’ve had it with humanity,'” his note began. “But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.”
He continued, writing, “But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out.”
The post has earned nearly 250,000 likes and 10,000 comments on Facebook, and has been picked up by outlets worldwide. Oswalt is just one of many comedians who offered passionate responses to the wreckage. A comedian’s job is to both cheer people and offer insights — often painful — into the world. Many jumped online (and on the late night airwaves) to do just that on Monday.
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