Charleston Shooting Leaves Comics Serious

“I didn’t do my job,” comedian Jon Stewart said on the Daily Show June 18 following the tragic killings at a Charleston, South Carolina, church. “I got nothing for you.”

Stewart admitted that he was filled with nothing but sadness about another mass shooting in the States. He said he was blown away that while everyone acknowledged the pain involved with knowing about another shooting, “we still won’t do jacks–t.” He also addressed the notion that the community was “touched” by violence, adding that weather events “touch” communities.


Jon Stewart was not the only one who was completely floored by the Charleston shooting, as comedian Larry Wilmore echoed Stewart’s remarks.

“This is a racially motivated attack,” Wilmore said.

The Charleston shooting, which occurred at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church the evening of June 17, left nine people dead, and suspect Dylann Roof was taken into custody at 10:43 a.m on June 18. The suspect had a recent history of anti-black views and was wearing the apartheid-era flags of the former Rhodesia and South Africa in an image on his Facebook page. Roof had shown up at the church, which was two hours from his home, and shot the nine victims, who were at the church moments before Roof opened fire.

There are still multiple questions about the Charleston shooting suspect, but what remains clear is that this sort of mass shooting has sparked renewed discussion about the violence that occurs in various pockets throughout the States on occasion.

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” president Barack Obama said.

Stewart’s audience seems to have responded in a heartfelt way to Stewart’s belief that there is a problem with the way in which violence is dealt with in the country.


The Charleston shooting has once again allowed comedians to do what they do best – say what needs to be said unflinchingly. It was Stewart, for instance, who made it clear that he stood with Americans when it came to the collective grief felt following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Wilmore, too, was equally sober about the Charleston shootings, adding, “I think we can all agree this time that this is a racially-motivated attack.”

Roof has confessed to the crime, according to law enforcement officials, and the desire to start a race war was apparently what motivated the shootings.

He apparently told one man who was pleading with him to stop, “You’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country… I have to do what I have to do.”

Charleston shooting suspect Roof was facing a bond hearing June 19, the results of which were not available at publication.

[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News]