After a gunman killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more at a country music festival in Las Vegas, late-night hosts took a moment before their planned entertainment to address what one called the "unimaginable cruelty" of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
The comedians tried to grapple with the events that unfolded just about 24 hours before their shows. Authorities said 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, unleashed rounds of bullets on concertgoers below at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Paddock killed himself before authorities entered his hotel room, and the investigation is ongoing.
"JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE"
Jimmy Kimmel held back tears as he talked about the massacre, calling out lawmakers for failing to take action against gun violence. He showed photos of over 50 senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted against stricter gun laws following the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, which killed 49 people and is now the second-deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.
"With all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient," Kimmel said of government officials who offered condolences for the Las Vegas victims. "We have a major problem with gun violence in this country and I guess they don't care."
The comedian railed on lawmakers for refusing to close loopholes on background checks, make it harder for people with mental illness to purchase firearms and bar those on the no-fly list from buying guns.
"Tell your congresspeople to do something," Kimmel added. "It's not enough to send your love and prayers."
Kimmel said that he "hates talking about" grave situations like this on a comedy show. "I just want to laugh about things every night," he said, "but it seems to (be) increasingly difficult lately.
"It feels like someone has opened a window into hell."
Jimmy Fallon had a somber opening of his show as well, calling Sunday's shooting "senseless."
"In the face of tragedies and acts of terror we need to remember that good still exists in this world," Fallon said.
The host kept it short, saying, "We're here to entertain you tonight, and that's what we're gonna do," before introducing Miley Cyrus and Adam Sandler for a special tribute to the victims. The two performed a moving rendition of Dido's "No Freedom."
At the end of the broadcast, Cyrus took the mic again to perform her 2009 song "The Climb" as a message of hope for those affected by the shooting.
Seth Meyers sent his thoughts to the families of the victims and thanked first responders and others for their "incredible bravery" in risking their lives to save people.
"It always seems like the worst displays of humanity in this country are immediately followed by the best," Meyers said. "And then sadly that is followed by no actions at all. And then it repeats itself."
Meyers called directly on Congress to address the issue that continues to paralyze the U.S.
"Are there no steps we can take as a nation to prevent gun violence, or is this just how it is and how it's going to continue to be?" Meyers said.
He referred to Rep. Steve Scalise, who returned to the House floor just last Thursday after being shot himself on June 14 in an attack at a Virginia baseball field. Scalise told his colleagues that his surviving is proof that "miracles really do happen."
"Is that the best plan D.C. has for dealing with gun violence? … We just pray for a miracle?" Meyers asked.
Stephen Colbert also put aside his usual political satire, saying, "jokes aren't appropriate to address the shock and grief and the anger we all feel."
Highlighting the "unimaginable cruelty" unleashed on Las Vegas, Colbert urged Americans not to "accept that as the new normal."
He cited Scalise's return to Congress as well, calling it "the kind of moment that gives you hope that Congress might work together" to combat gun violence in America.
"Congress can be heroes by doing literally anything," he said, firing off a list of ways lawmakers can take action: mandating universal background checks, denying gun purchases to the mentally ill, banning assault weapons.
"Doing nothing is cowardice. Doing something will take courage," Colbert told Washington.
The host then spoke directly to President Donald Trump, telling the Republican leader to forego party lines and stop what he called "pure evil" in his Monday morning address.
"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.
"Because if we are facing pure evil, then, by all means, offer thoughts and prayers. But think about what you need to do, and then pray for the courage to do it."
"LATE LATE SHOW"
British comedian James Corden spoke with the perspective of a foreigner, offering a keen observation of a deadly event that Americans have become so familiar with.
He noted the fact that the "deadliest mass shooting in modern American history" record has been set twice in just the two and a half years he's been living in the U.S. He counted the more than 11,000 people who have died from gun violence in 2017.
"I come from a place where we don't have shootings at this frequency, so it's hard for me to fathom," he said. "But it should be hard for everyone to fathom. Gun violence should not be a staple of American life."
Corden questioned the widespread availability of guns in the country and echoed the call for the president and lawmakers to "actually do something to prevent this from ever happening in the future."
Quoting the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, Corden said, "Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live."
Corden added: "Now is the time for gaining that wisdom. Somewhere it has to stop."