Over the last 20 years, Conan O’Brien has used his voice as a late-night TV personality to try and make sense of some of the worst moments of our time. In April of 2016, I wrote about how Conan reacted to the deaths of his friends and some of the world’s biggest names in entertainment.
These somber reflections also hold true for when tragedy strikes beyond the entertainment world, such as last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando.
“Our goal night after night is to be funny and silly; however, sometimes events are so horrifying and bleak…to come out here and tell jokes, it’s not really possible,” O’Brien said Monday night, beginning his monologue in a tone far more somber than his fans were used to.
Instead of beating around the bush, Conan got to the heart of the issue and said that for the first time as a host of the TV program, he was going to allow his personal politics to really shine through after years of not wanting to “bore” an audience with his views.
“Now, I am not a pundit. I am not an expert, and I have always — always — made it a policy to stick to my job and keep my opinions to myself. I have really tried very hard over the years not to bore you with what I think,” Conan explained.
“However, I am a father of two, I like to believe I have a shred of common sense, and I simply do not understand why anybody in this country is allowed to purchase and own a semiautomatic assault rifle. It makes no sense to me. These are weapons of war, and they have no place in civilian life.”
The comment drew great applause from the studio audience, though it has also elicited some controversy online.