Following Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, Jon Stewart opened “The Daily Show” with a heartfelt tribute.
“I think we would all agree that 2014 was not a great year for… people. But I think the hope was that 2015 would bring respite for the terrible events that have become all too familiar,” Stewart said at the top of the show. “Our hearts are with the staff of Charlie Hebdo and their families tonight.”
Stewart continued by offering a reflective response on what comedy should be:
I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn’t have to be that. It shouldn’t be an act of courage, it should be taken as established law. But those guys at Hebdo had it and they were killed for their cartoons.
A stark reminder that for the most part the legislators and journalists and institutions that we jab and ridicule are not in any way the enemy. For however frustrating or outraged the back and forth can become it’s still back and forth, a conversation amongst those on let’s call it ‘Team Civilisation.’ And this type of violence only clarifies that reality.
Stewart concluded by stating: “Our goal tonight is not to make sense of this, because there is no sense to be made of this. Our goal, as always, is to keep doing.”
“The Daily Show” ended with a moment of silence with this graphic:
Watch the full clip below:
Conan O’Brien also addressed the tragedy on his TBS late-night show Wednesday evening by saying the story “really hits home.”
In this country, we take it for granted it’s our right to poke fun at the untouchable or the sacred, but today’s tragedy in Paris reminds us, very viscerally, that it’s a right some people are forced to die for. So it is very important that I express tonight that everyone who works at our comedy show, all of us are terribly sad for teh families of those victims and for anyone who now has to think twice before making a joke — that is not the way it is supposed to be.
Tina Fey also responded to news of the shooting at Wednesday’s Television Critics Association press tour by defending freedom of speech:
Obviously, that news is terrible and tragic and upsetting. You look at that and you look at the controversy surrounding ‘The Interview,’ it makes you think about how important free speech is and how it absolutely must be defended. [We] can not back down on free speech in any way. We all have to stand firm on the issue of free speech.
A terrorist attack at the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday left 12 people dead, including the weekly’s chief editor and three cartoonists. Police are still searching for two men they suspect as being the gunmen, while another man believed to be involved with the deadly assault turned himself over to authorities late Wednesday.
Media outlets denounced the massacre as an attack on freedom and democracies. A few even decided to republish cartoons from Charlie Hebdo that have triggered controversy in the past.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.