Jon Stewart opted for no jokes on Thursday’s Daily Show episode because of the South Carolina church shooting that killed nine people on Wednesday.
“I have one job, and it’s a pretty simple job. I come in in the morning and we look at the news and I write jokes about it,” Stewart told audiences at the top of the show. “But I didn’t do my job today, so I apologize. I got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds because of what happened in South Carolina.”
“And maybe if I wasn’t nearing the end of the run or this wasn’t such a common occurrence, maybe I could have pulled out of a spiral, but I didn’t,” the host continued. “And so I honestly have nothing other than just sadness, once again, that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping, racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist.”
Stewart did not hold back on sharing his opinions with viewers and admitted his confidence that America won’t change anything in response to the deadly shooting. “I’m confident, though, that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack shit.” Stewart said. “Yeah, that’s us, and that’s the part that blows my mind.”
The late-night host said that “the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves” blew his mind.
“This is a terrorist attack. This is a violent attack on the Emanuel Church in South Carolina, which is a symbol for the black community,” he said before elaborating further: “This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist. This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater.”
“I hate to even use this pun, but this one is black and white. There’s no nuance here,” Stewart said.
Before introducing the evening’s guest, Nobel Piece Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai, he made a comparison of Middle Eastern terrorist groups to U.S. terrorism: “Al Qaeda, all those guys, Isis, they’re not shit compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”