*Jon Stewart opened his “Daily Show” on Thursday by apologizing to the audience for being unable to prepare a show after learning of the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“I’ve got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina,” Stewart — who will be leaving The Daily Show in August — said. “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. And so I honestly have 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, but we pretend doesn’t exist.”
Instead, Stewart just talked about what he was feeling – touching on everything from racism, to gun violence to the numerous shootings that have taken place in America over the past few years.
“I’m confident though that by acknowledging it — by staring into that and seeing it for what it is — we still won’t do jacksh*t,” Stewart continued, earning a few awkward laughs. “Yeah. That’s us. That’s the part that blows my mind. I don’t want to get into the political argument …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.”
Dylann Roof, 21, is alleged to have opened fire on a weekly bible study group at the South Carolina church on Wednesday, killing eight on site. A ninth person passed away later at the hospital.
“I heard someone on the news say, ‘Tragedy has visited the church.’ This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist,” Stewart continued. “I hate to use the pun, but this one was black and white. There’s no nuance here. But we’re going to keep pretending. We are steeped in that culture in this country and we refuse to recognize it.”
The Comedy Central host added, “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.”
Stewart somberly concluded, “Al Qaeda, all those guys — ISIS. They’re not sh** compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”