No Joke: Jon Stewart Can't Laugh After Charleston Church Massacre

  • by: Alan Duke
No Joke: Jon Stewart Can't Laugh After Charleston Church Massacre

Comedian Jon Stewart didn't try for laughs on Thursday night's "Daily Show," and instead spent the half hour talking about peering into an "abyss of the depraved violence" a day after a white man killed nine African-Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina, church.

"I've got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina," Stewart said at the start of his usually joke-filled opening monologue. "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 the spiral. But I didn't."

Stewart, who is set to leaves the show in August, said he only has "nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence we do to each other and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal yet we pretend doesn't exist."

He was pessimistic that anything would change despite the unspeakable violence inside the Emanuel AME Church at the end of a Bible study session. "I'm confident though that by acknowledging it -- by staring into that and seeing it for what it is - we still won't do jacks--t. Yeah. That's us."

Dylann Roof, 21, allegedly wanted to trigger a race war in the United States with the terror attack, law enforcement sources told CNN. A woman who survived the shooting said Roof told one of his male victims before killing him that "you've raped our women, and you are taking over the country... I have to do what I have to do.

Charleston Church Shooter Hoped To Trigger US Race War: Sources

"What blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves," Stewart said.

He criticized news coverage go the attack. "I heard someone on the news say, 'Tragedy has visited this church,'" he said. "This wasn't a tornado. This was racist. I hate to even use this pun, but this one is black and white. There's no nuance here. But we're going to keep pretending."

Stewart also criticized South Carolina's government for maintaining symbols of the civil war waged by the state to defend the enslavement of blacks. "The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina. And the roads are named for Confederate generals. And the white guy is the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him. We're bringing it on ourselves."

The remainder of the show was an interview with Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her peace activism after she was shot by terrorists.

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

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