Following comments by Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong over the weekend, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah became the latest late-night host to weigh in on the deadly Paris terror attacks when he returned to the air on Monday night.
Like those who came before him, Noah decided to forgo comedy in favor of a more serious opening monologue that attempted to channel some of the gravitas of Jon Stewart’s post-9/11 speech.
Noting that the news broke on Friday when The Daily Show was off, Noah said that he and the show’s writers still had to “deal with it.”
“I guess everyone has to deal with it,” he continued. “It’s tough. Because I think our lives are defined by moments—dinner with family, taking a nice drive together, friends gathering at somebody's house to watch Ronda get kicked in the neck,” Noah said, attempting a joke about UFC fighter Ronda Rousey that fell a little flat. “And I think the reason it’s so painful is because often terrorism seeks to replace these moments with death and fear.”
“We all are afraid,” the host said. “We replace that fear with anger a lot of the time, but I think what we should try to choose to do is not focus on the perpetrators, because every attack, whether Paris, Beirut, Kenya, seems less about a specific group and more about an attack on humanity itself.”
Noah said the one thing that made him smile amidst all this tragedy is the way that Parisians went out of their way to help each other Friday night, citing the hashtag #PorteOuverte or “open the door” that started trending in the aftermath.
“To the people of France, we commend you,” Noah said before attempting one more moment of humor. “I will say you are ruining our cultural stereotypes, because the French are supposed to be cold and unwelcoming, and then you do these beautiful things, and who do we make jokes about now, Finland? Because we will, we will make jokes about Finland, if we have to.”
“But our prayers will be with Paris. Our prayers are with the people,” he concluded. “But let’s not forget, before we fight, to love.”
Noah then pivoted to a topic in which he evidently felt he could find more comedy: Saturday’s Democratic debate.