TV hosts, celebrities address Orlando nightclub shooting with familiar heartbreak and outrage
In the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, celebrities and TV hosts dedicated entire segments to the tragedy, addressing the all-too-familiar grief.
Famous LGBT community members and allies like Ellen Page, Elton John, Laverne Cox and Stuart Milk expressed condolences and prayers for the victims and their families. Others were outraged that massacres like this are still happening.
One of the more intense reactions came from Samantha Bee, who kicked off her Full Frontal show on TBS with a cold open. No fanfare or skipping on stage. Just pure anger over something Bee says has become standard.
"After a massacre, the standard operating procedure is that you stand onstage and deliver some well-meaning words about how we will get through this together, how love wins, how love conquers hate ... and that is beautiful," she said.
"F*** it. I am too angry for that. Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our f****** problems," Bee said.
She then went on to rip into Florida senator Marco Rubio's and Governor Rick Scott's comments following the mass shooting.
During a live interview with MSNBC, Rubio said, "This could've happened anywhere in the world. Unfortunately it was Orlando's turn."
"Orlando's turn?" Bee said. "Mass shootings are so normalised now that we are taking turns?"
During a press conference in Orlando, Scott offered prayers and condolences to victims and families while avoiding questions about policy changes to prevent future tragedies.
"If only shooting victims could dodge bullets just as much as you dodge those questions," Bee said. "...wasn't even Orlando's first high-profile gun murder of the weekend. Stop thinking and do something to improve our society."
Bee didn't offer her prayers - except a short one that included asking God to give the NRA a plague of boils - but directed her fury at the relative ease with which anyone could purchase an AR-15, which she nicknamed a "high-capacity penis substitute."
"We pray after every mass shooting and yet they keep happening," she said.
Known for their humor even in the most serious situations, late-night hosts John Oliver, Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert of opened their programs by recapping the attack and expressing their sadness over having to discuss yet another mass shooting.
During The Late Show, Stephen Colbert told us that "despair is a victory for hate" and emphasized something has to change to prevent something like this from happening again.
"You already know what people will say, you know what president, whoever it is, will probably say, what both sides of the political aisle will say, what gun manufacturers will say and you have some idea of what I will say," Colbert said. "I've talked about this when it's happened before."
The Daily Show host Noah had a similar approach, reminding us we "can't just shock, mourn, change our profile pictures and move on."
He even related the national and political response to the massacre to being a kid who refused to tie his shoelaces.
"When I was a kid, I never used to tie my shoelaces....I would run around, I would trip on my shoelaces, I would fall down and cry," he said. When he went to his mother for help, she reminded him this could be avoided by tying his shoelaces.
"We realized, I fell because of the shoelaces. I'll tie them then move on. I knew I had to move on, but I had to tie the shoelaces first," Noah said. "I could've said, ‘Mom why are you bringing shoelaces into this conversation? Why are you blaming the shoelaces for something the sidewalk did to my knees? Who even says there's a connection between anti-shoelaces and falling anyway? You're violating my right to keep my shoelaces untied!' I didn't say that.... I realized after falling a lot, that there was a connection between leaving my shoelaces untied and getting hurt."
Oliver's Last Week Tonight on Sunday opened with a statement about the terrible familiarity of the situation.
"The worst thing is, this pain is so familiar," Oliver said. "In Paris last November, terrorists seemed to target places symbolizing everything that is wonderful about France: culture, music, restaurants. And, in Orlando, early this morning, the gunman attacked a Latin night at a gay club in the theme park capital of the world."
But before getting to the rest of his "stupid comedy show" Oliver ended with a video showing the hundreds in line at an Orlando blood clinic waiting to give blood on Sunday.
"It kind of reminds you that that terrorist dips*** is vastly outnumbered," he said.
Lady Gaga, a notable advocate for the LGBT community, stood in front of a crowded vigil in Los Angeles Monday evening to honor the victims.
"We mourn the tragic loss of these innocent, beautiful people," she said. "I hope you know that myself and so many are your allies .... You are not alone, you are not alone."
She fought back tears calling for a pledge of allegiance of love to the victims and their families, and when she slowly read the names of all 49 lives lost.
"Orlando, we are united with you," she said.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham on Twitter.