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“I want to talk about pretending,” Stephen Colbert said at his desk during the top of Friday’s Late Show.
The late-night host was referencing Thursday’s tragic mass shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College where 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire. “Whether or not we hit the right notes on any given night, I think that the least that we can do is pretend to not always know what to do or say,” he told audiences. “In the face of the killings in Oregon yesterday, I honestly don’t know what to do or say other than that our hearts are broken for the people struck by this senseless tragedy.”
Colbert told viewers that he didn’t know how to start his show, “which is often about whatever happened in the last 24 hours.” He explained, “I can’t pretend that it didn’t happen. I also can’t pretend to know what to do to prevent what happened yesterday all the times it has happened before.”
He said that “pretending is part of the problem” and that nothing is changed when these horrific acts continue to occur and “we pretend that it won’t happen again.” While he said that he doesn’t know if stricter gun laws or mental healthcare are the answer, he commented that “one of the definitions of insanity is changing nothing and then pretending that something will change.” He then transitioned to “honest insanity” and — on a lighter, comedic note — referenced Donald Trump.
Morgan Freeman joined Colbert later in the show to discuss his role on Sunday’s season premiere of Madam Secretary.
Watch Colbert’s heartfelt monologue below.
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Robert De Niro