Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, during which three people were killed and scores were wounded, led NBC to preempt a new episode of its hit drama Revolution for a prime-time news special covering the fallout. All other non-news networks stuck with their regular schedules, and The Daily Show and The Colbert Report — shows which might have had some difficulty maintaining their regular tone of skewering the news — were on repeat.
Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon were also all in repeats, but Conan O’Brien was new, and the Boston-area native had some remarks about the tragedy: “We have a great show for you tonight. But first, I have to mention what an upsetting and sad day it’s been. Boston is my hometown — it’s where I grew up, and it’s where my family lives. So I just wanted to take a moment to say that – like everyone here – my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston and everyone who has been affected by this senseless act. That said — it is our job to do a show. We’re going to try and entertain you the best we can. Which, given our track record, gives you people a 20 percent chance of having a good time tonight.”
Jimmy Kimmel also addressed the situation in his 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’s suffering as a result of the bombings at the marathon. It’s a disgusting thing, 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.”
And Craig Ferguson had this to say at the beginning of his show: “Hey everybody, 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 sh**? I seem to have to say that too often.
“People say to me ‘Craig, your job is to make people laugh at the end of the day.’ And I think, yes, that’s true, but I’ve never professed to be any damn good at that. And, the thing is, people want their mind taken off it. And I think, well OK, if you want your mind taken off it, you know, watch a cartoon or a video or something. I understand it, 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.
“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, at the invitation of Tommy Menino, who is the mayor of Boston and one of the more colorful characters in American politics. … I’ve been there for the Fourth of July many times … and every cop in Boston looks like I’m his brother. … My first standup special in America, I shot it in Boston. I like that town. I’m appalled by this thing and when I watch it on these streets that I know, it’s horrifying.
“If I have all this inside of me. If I have all this rage and anger and distress and upset inside of me, I’m not a good enough comedian to hide all that from you.”
Ellen DeGeneres taped this message of support for the people affected by the bombing toward the end of her Monday show: