As America continued to reel from the news of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, late-night hosts Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and Craig Ferguson found unique and diverse ways to acknowledge the tragedy at the beginning of their programs before offering some much-needed levity. (Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, and David Letterman aired re-runs, as previously scheduled.) Here, a collection of late-night hosts responding to the Boston Marathon bombings:
1. Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien acknowledged his personal connection to Boston, sending his thoughts and prayers to the city before continuing on with the show:
Ladies and gentlemen, we do have a great show for you tonight. But first, I did want to start by talking about what an upsetting and sad day it has been. I'm talking, of course, about what happened in Boston earlier today. Boston's my hometown. It's where I grew up. It's where my family lives. So I wanted to take a moment to say that like everybody here, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston, and everybody who's been affected by this absolutely senseless act. That's important to say right up top. That said, it is our job to do a show, and we're going to try and entertain you the very best we can. Which, given our track record, gives you people a 20 percent chance of having a good show tonight, and I think that's pretty good.
2. Craig Ferguson
A visibly distraught Craig Ferguson spent most of his opening monologue in a non-comedic vein, as he talked about his affection for Boston and lamented the senselessness of the tragedy:
Good evening. Tonight's show is a little bit different. Obviously, the news of today is so horrendous that it would seem insensitive, at best to say, "It's a great day for America." So I won't be starting the show with that tonight. Is anyone else sick of this shit? Too often, I have to not say "It's a great day for America" for some random act of madness or terrorism. […]
By the time you get to this show, the media has been poring over the events of the day, and the constant analysis, and speculation on the assumptions. I'm not here to do that. People say to me, "Craig, your job is to make people laugh at the end of the day," and yes, that's true. But I've never professed to be any damn good at that. People want their mind taken off it. And I think well, okay, if you want your mind taken off it, watch a cartoon or a video or something. I understand it. I think it's perfectly acceptable. I don't think it's a terrible thing to not want to think about it. But I can't not think about it. I can't not think about it. And the deal I made with you, when I started this show, was that I'll be as honest as I can be. I'll do the best show I can do. [...]
And also, I have a personal connection with the city of Boston. I have some history there. I have family there. When I became an American citizen in 2008, I spoke at Faneuil Hall on July 4 on the invitation of Tommy Menino, who's the mayor of Boston, and one of the more colorful characters in American politics. Who would have thought that Boston would rise up with an interesting and colorful politician? But it happens from time to time. I've been there on the 4th of July, many times, on the esplanade there, with that big half shell, or clamshell — I always get it wrong, but I've done that a lot. Every cop in Boston looks like I'm his brother. You know that's true. My first standup special in America, I shot in Boston. I'm used to it. I like that town. I'm appalled by this thing. And when I watch it on these streets that I know, watch the media going over and over this thing on the streets you know, it's horrifying.
And people say, "You don't let the terrorists win." They're not f---ing winning. It's there. And I know people say, "Oh we don't know if it's a terrorist." Yes, we do. Whoever did that — whoever did that thing — wasn't doing it for any other reason. Clearly they failed in achieving the number of deaths and carnage that they were trying to get. This wasn't some brave commando that snuck into a military installation and put a limpet mine on the side of a battleship, and snuck out, fearing for his own life. This was some f---ing f--- who went into a public place and left something there that they knew was going to blow up. That's not a solider, that's a terrorist. That's not a soldier.
If I have all this inside of me — all this rage, and anger, and distress inside of me — I'm not good enough a comedian to hide it from you. I can't hide it. It's there. So we'll have our guests out tonight, and I'll ask them about their lives. But I don't know how it's going to be.
3. Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Kimmel kept his remarks relatively brief, acknowledging the Boston Marathon bombings before segueing to a traditional comedic monologue:
I don't want to bring everyone down, but it was a terrible day. Very bad things happened today, for no good reason, and our thoughts are with the people of Boston, and everyone who is suffering as a result of the bombings at the marathon. It's a disgusting thing, and I don't understand it, but my job is to make you laugh, and so I'll try to do that. And I will probably fail. I'm failing already.