'Something needs to change,' he said

By Ariana Bacle
October 03, 2017 at 08:34 AM EDT

Conan O’Brien opened his show Monday night by addressing Sunday night’s attack in Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire on the audience at a country music festival, killing at least 59 people and injuring hundreds more.

“We all woke up to some absolutely devastating news this morning,” O’Brien began. “What happened last night is so terrible and numbing, I don’t even need to relay the news. Obviously, we’ve seen the images and they’re everywhere.”

He continued, “I’ve been doing this job for more than 24 years, and when I began in 1993, occasions like this were extremely rare — for me or for any TV comedy host back then to come out and need to address a mass shooting spree was practically unheard of. But over the last decade, things have changed.”

O’Brien went on to recall coming into his office earlier this morning and being greeted by his head writer, holding printed-out versions of O’Brien’s previous monologues about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementry School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the Pulse nightclub, in Orlando, Florida.

“How could there be a file of mass shooting remarks for a late-night host?” O’Brien wondered. “When did that become normal? When did this become a ritual? And what does it say about us that it has? I am not the most political of our comics — I never have been — but I will repeat what I said not long ago after Orlando: I don’t think it should be so easy for one demented person to kill so many people so quickly.”

“It makes no sense to me, as a reasonable human being and a father,” he continued, “and what’s more, we’re all tired of hearing reporters, let alone comics, discuss mass carnage in the most affluent and influential country in the history of the world. Something needs to change. It really does.”

He concluded by expressing his and his staff’s heartbreak and encouraging the audience to help in whatever ways they saw fit. (Head here for suggestions on how to help the victims and their families.)

Watch O’Brien’s monologue above.

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