Daily Show's Jon Stewart Delivers Joke-Free Open in Wake of Charleston Church Shooting: 'I Have Nothing'

Jon Stewart Church Shooting

Jon Stewart opened Thursday’s Daily Show by confessing to viewers, “I didn’t do my job today.”

The somber comedian explained that the hate crime-fueled massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC — which left nine people dead — rendered him joke-less.

“I have one job — and it’s a pretty simple job,” he said.  “I come in in the morning, we look at the news, and I write jokes about it. And then I make a couple of faces… and then I’m out the door. But… I’ve got nothin’ for you, because of what happened in South Carolina. I honestly have nothing other than just sadness.”

Watch the full video below:

The Daily Show
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59 Comments
  1. Kris says:

    I love this man.

  2. annie says:

    Thanks for posting this. One correction. …It’s South Carolina. Roof was arrested in North Carolina but terrorized a church in South Carolina.

    • Robby says:

      He did not “terrorize” a church. He committed a act of absolute evil within a church. Absolute evil is about the best term I could come up without getting kicked by the mods.

      • Preacher Book says:

        Roof committed a terrorist act in a church against unarmed people motivated by racist hatred. Simple. He is a domestic terrorist and deserves to be called such.

      • fairmont1955 says:

        In the spirit of not having to be divisive at a time when we can all benefit from coming together, how about the semantics get pushed aside? No one is arguing it was a horrible act; evil, terrorist – whatever.

      • Melora says:

        Sorry but he’s a terrorist. He’s A domestic Terrorist. It may come of a complete shock to you but white people can be and have been terrorists.

  3. David4 says:

    Craig Ferguson was the same way. Amazing people these guys are.

    And let’s call it a terrorist attack. If he was Muslim, or foreign we would.

    • Andy says:

      Well, terrorism implies (by definition) a certain political reason for an attack, which wasn’t (as far as we know) the case in South Carolina.

      • Heather says:

        The shooter was said to have told them that black people were “taking over the country” which seems like a pretty political reason to murder a group of church folk. And, at least in Canada, the definition has grown to include both ideological and religious reasons which this attack seemed to be all three.

      • Katherine215 says:

        He’s been quoted as saying he wanted to start another civil war on race. That’s not political? Because it sure seems like a terrorist act to me.

      • Carol says:

        “Mass shooters ALL have some sort of mental problems. Mass shooters who target a specific demographic are terrorists. Stop saying he isn’t.”

      • fairmont1955 says:

        Really, we need that kind of pettiness right now? How about we move away from trying to be smartypants about definitions?

    • smartysenior says:

      No, it was not a terrorist by any definition of the word. When you misuse words you take away their importance and then they have no meaning when you want them. For example, people now say “verbal abuse” when they mean a loud argument. When someone is actually abused verbally there are no words left to describe the crime against them because it’s been watered down by overuse. I’m pretty sure this was a mentally ill young man with some racist problems which is bad enough, leave it at that.

      • Carol says:

        Then the Muslim killers are also mentally ill with some religious problems. You cannot excuse one but not the other due to their faith (Christian versus Islam) or ethnic origin (White versus Brown/Black) which is what Jon said in this video.

        The SC killer is a terrorist since he said he wanted to start a racial civil war by killing black people.

        • Me says:

          We have a term for this sort of horrific act, it is called a hate crime. Can we just agree to use that term?
          And why argue the semantics anyway? The horrible truth is at people died in a senseless act done by someone filled with hate. That is what we should be talking about.

          • Katherine215 says:

            No, we can’t. Terrorism is terrorism. Just because a white American commits it, doesn’t make it any less true. Minimizing it by refusing to use the word terrorism is an insult to 9 innocent people who died for no reason.

          • garlick2 says:

            Hate crime is a terrible term, that doesn’t fit this either, because most crimes are committed out of hate, but we are just labeling those that have to do with sexual orientation or skin color. Hate crime is for politicians to feel they are making a difference in the world, when in reality, all this means is that the FBI takes over jurisdiction, where as labeling it as a terrorist attack, would allow state lawmakers to take jurisdiction, and in this case, that would be better, because South Carolina has the death penalty, where as a hate crime is federal, and there is no federal statute for capital punishment. This individual deserves the right to be tried in the state where this occurred, and face the penalties that are associated with those actions. If we’re to use those penalties as a deterrent, then we need to be able to prosecute those offenders by those laws. If we label this a hate crime, we can’t do that, and this all gets labeled as something that’s more than it really is, which is a heinous act that was carried out by a psychopath/sociopath. Trying him as a terrorist, or even just as a murder suspect, which really is just what he his, would allow for all the correct and right things to happen. That’s what we need, is more simplification, with limited amounts of labeling and federal interference. This is matter that should be handled by the state, not the federal government. So NO, WE SHOULD NOT LABEL THIS AS A HATE CRIME.

          • Mary says:

            @garlick2, Yes it was a hate crime by definition. Considering the mentality of some of those good old Southern boys, I am not so sure it should be tried there. I truly believe his hatred for black people was a learn mentality. He wasn’t nuts it was in breaded in him from his beliefs growing up. As my grandmother said the world is going to h.ll in a hen basket.

          • fairmont1955 says:

            I’m kind at the point where anyone who wants to get petty and hung up on semantics about what they want to call this us just a dick. WTF? Does it matter? Why try to cause disagreement – that’s part of the problem. Why not just find ways to come together?

        • Lucifer says:

          Posted this to David, but I think you need this too: Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood shooter), Alton Nolen (Oklahoma man who beheaded a woman and tried to do it to another), and Ali Muhammad Brown (executed 4 people across America within days) were clearly terrorists, with at least one having direct ties to terrorist groups. However, NONE of them were declared terrorists by the media or our government. So stop with this BS that “if it was Muslim, he would be a terrorist” because it’s a completely false narrative.

      • Jack C. says:

        He said he wanted to spark a new Civil War! That’s 100% political. He’s a terrorist. White people can be terrorists, too.

      • FBI Terrorism Definition says:

        Actually, it squarely fits within the FBI definiition of domestic terrorism pasted below: 1 – shooting someone is “dangerous to human life”; 2 – intended to intimidate a civilian (black) population at the very least (i); and 3 – pretty sure that South Carolina is within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

        “Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

        Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
        Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
        Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

    • Lucifer says:

      Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood shooter), Alton Nolen (Oklahoma man who beheaded a woman and tried to do it to another), and Ali Muhammad Brown (executed 4 people across America within days) were clearly terrorists, with at least one having direct ties to terrorist groups. However, NONE of them were declared terrorists by the media or our government. So stop with this BS that “if it was Muslim, he would be a terrorist” because it’s a completely false narrative.

    • Angela says:

      I thought of Craig Ferguson as well watching that. His take on the Aurora shootings a couple years ago was excellent, too, yes. And I don’t doubt if he were still on TV he’d have made a great speech last night on his show, too. I miss his show.

  4. Renee says:

    The quote from Jon Stewart incorrectly identifies the state as NC. This is a TVLine error; Stewart correctly identified the state as SC.

    Jon Stewart is going to leave dych a void. He truly is the most trusted anchor today.

    • Michael Ausiello says:

      Good catch. FIXED. — MA

    • Andrea says:

      I know that Jon Stewart doesn’t want to do the Daily Show anymore. Understandable because people often want to make changes. However, I so agree with Renee about him leaving a void. I so wish he was going to do something else where he remained on TV. I’m sure we’ll see him again. I’m just bummed that we don’t yet know when. I hope Jon Stewart is not absent from TV long.

  5. Pat says:

    He made me cry….

  6. He shows what a Real Man should be.

    • Lucifer says:

      If you want to say “he shows what a Real Human should be” then fine, but the whole “real man” talk does nothing but tell men how they should act if they want to be considered a man. It’s just enforcing gender roles.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I went to SC once and people had confederate flags everywhere. That, to me is insane. It stands for racism. Anyone who suggests it doesn’t is lying to themselves.

    • Angela says:

      On Larry Wilmore’s show last night, which was also excellent, he made note of the fact that at the state capital, the American flag was at half mast in honor of the victims…but the Confederate flag was still flying like normal.
      That is embarrassing. And shameful. And says so much about how effed up this situation truly is. Anyone who doesn’t understand where this shooter got his messages of hate from, just think about those flags for a while. I too fail to understand why people still cling to the Confederate flag or honor the Confederate past so tightly to this day. That’s not a good thing to honor, guys. It’s just not.

  8. LT says:

    Let’s be honest…much like when Oprah left our daily airwaves and left a HUGE hole leaving us without a voice of calm reasoning, there will be another huge hole in late night when Jon Stewart departs.

  9. Angela says:

    This speech was just so spot on and so true. He pretty much said it all.
    It was heartbreaking to see him like this, though-this is the same man who did the “Rally to Restore Sanity” alongside Stephen Colbert five years ago. Last night, though, Jon just looked so…defeated and full of despair. It made his comments that much more emotional and moving.
    I’m glad he said what he did, though, and that speech is yet another reminder of why I’m going to miss him. This country needs to get its crap together.
    Also, on another note regarding the show, I don’t care what our requirements are for somebody to run for president-can we nominate Malala anyway? She’s incredible.

  10. Robby says:

    Sorry, but every time I see this idiot, I want to throw a beer bottle through my tv. Let me guess, he blames (Hate Speech) AKA Fox News and unfeathered access to guns AKA gun control.

    Stewart has taken tragedy and shaped it to forward gun control before. Let’s at least wait the the bodies are in the ground before we make this political!

    Not going to watch it, I don’t need the aggravation. I rather mourn the dead.

    • Angela says:

      No, actually, he didn’t say anything about any of that in his speech, but thanks for showing your ignorance. Maybe you should try actually watching the video before jumping to conclusions?
      And yes, let’s just keep on waiting to talk about gun control. ‘Cause that’s been so helpful to us thus far.

      • Robby says:

        If he did, it’s a first. Every time one of these things happen, it’s blame conservatives, blame fox news, blame talk radio. AND I’M SICK OF IT! I haven’t watched any TV news for 36 hours. Cause I know what will be said.

        It started when Bill Clinton blamed Rush Limbaugh for fostering condtions for OK City bombing. Hillary blamed a “vast right wing conspricy” for her husbands problems. Obama has blamed both Fox News, talk radio and conservatives more times than I can count.

        You say it doesn’t happen, but it does.

        BTW, if you get your news from Comedy Central, there is no hope for you.

        • Angela says:

          No “if” about it. He honest to God didn’t say any of that stuff in his speech.
          And as for the blame, well, you know, considering Fox News immediately went on a thing about this being an attack on Christianity (which it wasn’t) instead of actually discussing the fact that it was a racially motivated crime, considering the right continues to bow to the NRA and refuses to budge an inch on the gun control issue, considering it was the GOP and its followers who spawned the birther movement in regards to Obama, or who go on and on about “taking our country back!”, considering Rush Limbaugh’s hateful rhetoric is spouted by people on a daily basis, considering many people in the South still proudly display the Confederate flag, how can we NOT call them out when they say and do the things they do? Their attitudes play a big role in these problems festering as they do, and they should be called out for it. Don’t like it? Tough. Tell the birthers and Rush Limbaugh and the NRA and the Confederate sympathizers to put a sock in it, then, since they’re all making your side look bad. They’re all part of the problem. That is a fact.
          And I don’t get my news from Comedy Central. I don’t know why you felt the need to bring that up, since I never implied such a thing. I just like the way Jon discusses the news stories of the day-either he gives impassioned speeches like he did last night, or he finds the humor in the insanity and manages to make people laugh at it all for a half hour. I’m well aware he’s a comedian and not an actual news reporter. But the fact that he’s more willing to discuss news stories than our actual news organizations are (and I include ALL the major news networks in this, just so you know), well, that’s saying something.

          • JA903 says:

            Wow, Angela…If I could, I would upvote you a 1000 times.

          • LT says:

            #TEAMANGELA

          • Lucifer says:

            You’re outright lying, I watched Fox News last night just to see what they would say and not once did they claim this was an “attack on christianity” and actually did talk about it being racially motivated and were focussing on the victims and the community. Megyn Kelly even refused to show the shooter’s picture of say his name because that’s what he wanted; fame. Not once did they skirt around the fact that this was a white supremacist who went there because it was a black church.

            And aside from movies or TV shows, I’ve never heard the term “it’s time we take the country back” used in regards to racism. It’s always used in referring to the failed policies that have crippled America’s economy and bad politicians who are making things worse.

            As someone who refuses to side with either political party or ideology, I’d say that the left and modern liberals have created plenty of problems as well, but they face little to no criticism as they control the majority of the mainstream narratives out there. The media, academia, politics, Hollywood, etc. No one brings up the fact that nearly all Democratic-run cities have the most violence, poverty, and minorities. Or how about the fact that the government spends millions or taxpayer’s dollars on assistance for women who have been raped or abused while spending zero on men. And when it is brought up, it’s declared hate speech by liberal feminists. Even when feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers brings up the double standards. Or how about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian woman who speaks about the problematic aspects of Islam and having a reform for the religion. But she’s met with attacks and her words are called ‘hate speech’ by many liberals. Or how about the false narratives that have already come out with this horrible tragedy to blame all whites? You know, “all shooters are white men.” Despite the fact that there have been plenty of non-white shooters. Or how about “if he was Muslim, he’d be a terrorist.” Despite the fact that there have been several Muslims, even ones with direct ties to terrorist groups, to commit murders and the media refused to call it terrorism.

            All I’m saying is stop trying to blame one side for it, especially by taking things out of context. Grow up, and take responsibility for the radicalism in your political party as well, which has gone mainstream and 100% unchecked.

          • Jana says:

            Lucifer doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Everything Angela said is absolutely correct. I know for a fact that on “Fox and Friends” Steve Doocy and Rudy Giuliani both tried to claim it was an attack on “religious liberty” rather than a racist hate crime.

          • Lucifer says:

            @Jana, I didn’t and don’t watch Fox and Friends and you clearly ignored that I said that “I watched Fox News last night” so you could have simply pointed that out. That’s the problem when people talk about FNC, because it’s a network with multiple shows and saying the entire network was erasing the racial aspects of the shooting is inaccurate. The shows on FNC which people primarily watch/talk about are Bill O’Rilley, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity (all of whom were adamant on the Charleston Shooting being about racism).

            And that makes all of my points invalid? Or maybe you just don’t like that I pointed out some of the glaring issues wrong with Angela’s statement along with the left/democratic party.

          • :-) says:

            Fox news and many republican presidential candidates called it an attack on Christianity for the better part of yesterday.

          • steve says:

            It was the Clinton campaign who started the birther movement during the 2008 primaries, not the GOP. Hillary has also talked about taking her country back, that isn’t just a GOP phrase. I heard that phrase a LOT during the Bush administration.

            At first glance, hearing that people were murdered in a church, talking about a war on Christians isn’t surprising, but it was wrong. After the recent unrest in Ferguson & Baltimore, it would have been prudent to wait for more information – hands up don’t shoot, for example. Regarding gun control, how does disarming law abiding citizens protect law abiding citizens?

            That said, this shouldn’t be a right/left thing. This is an American tragedy. God bless the victims & their families.

          • Angela says:

            @Lucifer: I am not lying. If some people on the night end of Fox News did acknowledge the racial aspect of the story, then fantastic. But the fact remains that some people on that network DID try and divert attention from the racial aspect of it. I didn’t say EVERYONE on Fox News ignored the racial aspect, after all, I just mentioned the network in a general context to note that some people on there did.
            And aside from movies or TV shows, I’ve never heard the term “it’s time we take the country back” used in regards to racism. It’s always used in referring to the failed policies that have crippled America’s economy and bad politicians who are making things worse.
            Really? I have. The news showed plenty of clips of people during Tea Party rallies saying that, or some variation thereof. And don’t even pull that “it’s about the economic policies” thing. The contexts I’ve heard it in have always had a not-so-subtle racist bent to it.
            No one brings up the fact that nearly all Democratic-run cities have the most violence, poverty, and minorities.
            I’ve heard the opposite. A lot of Southern states, led by Republicans, tend to wind up at the bottom of lists in terms of economic growth or education or decent living conditions. I won’t argue that there are Democratic-led areas that aren’t perfect, either, but Republican-led places aren’t exactly faring any better. And what’s wrong with Democrat-run places having the most minorities? That’s a bad thing how?
            As for the rest of the random stuff you brought up, I would very much like to see proof of these claims about lack of funding for men who have been abused and raped. And I fully agree there are problematic aspects of Islam, and if people are calling anyone out for pointing that out, then they’re idiots, because just like any other faith, it has its problems. I think where the main complaint comes in, though, is this idea that Islam is worse than any other faith or being made into some boogeyman for Christians in this country.
            I think you’re misinterpreting what people are saying with those “all shooters are white men” comments. Some might actually mean that, in which case they’d be wrong, but most people’s point is that when a few people in minority groups do something bad, everyone in that minority group gets stereotyped as either condoning those crimes or more likely to commit those crimes or things of that sort.
            But when white men go on shooting sprees (and while not all shooters are white men, the vast majority of the mass shootings that have taken place in recent years HAVE been committed by white men), people shrug it off as just one lone mentally ill nutjob. The difference in reaction is noticeable. I do think the fact that many white men have been going on shooting sprees in recent years is something worth discussing, because clearly there’s a pattern there that we need to explore further. And I don’t know what media you’re watching that Muslims aren’t called terrorists when they commit crimes, but I’ve heard that stated numerous times when a Muslim has attacked a group of people.
            I only brought up the problematic elements of the conservative mindset because Robby complained about the fact that conservatives always get attacked after these things (’cause, you know, they’re victims, too, of course). And I just brought up a list of reasons as to why that might be the case. If we had been talking about left-wing ideology, I would’ve acknowledged the problems in there, too. But we weren’t.
            Instead of going off on a random side tangent about the left-wing, would it really have been so hard for you to say, “Yeah, there are some pretty stupid people on the right. Rush Limbaugh and the birthers and the Confederate supporters do make conservatives look really bad.”? Sitting there saying, “Yeah, well, well…the other side does bad stuff, too!” doesn’t negate the fact that the right-wing has some serious ideological problems.
            Also, thanks to everyone else for their support :).

          • murley says:

            Angela isn’t lying. There was a segment with Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocey talking to a reverend about it being an attack on Christianity and not racially motivated. Just because it didn’t happen while you were watching doesn’t make her a liar. Anyway, well said, Angela. I couldn’t agree with you, or Jon Stewart, more.

          • Lucifer says:

            @Angela, As I explained in my comment above to Jana, that I did not watch their morning program and had only watched their 3 primetime shows to see what they would say. Because you used the broad title of ‘Fox News’ which is an entire network, you claimed they were all trying to deflect when that was not the case. If that really is what they were doing in the morning, then that is very wrong.

            I’m guessing you ignored Steve’s post above, which also points out Democrats including Hillary Clinton who have said “it’s time we take the country back”. And it was Hillary herself who began the birther movement. I guess I didn’t word it great, but I meant that I have never heard people of great influence say that term with a racial leaning. I’m sure there are people out there, but they’re probably laughed out of the room and only followed by people who are hardcore racist, mentally ill, or both.

            A fine example of Democratic-run cities and failed policies is Baltimore. It has been run by democrats for 50 years and is currently run by primarily minority politicians and police. However, people still blamed republicans and white people for all the chaos it has been experiencing. And my point about the fact that most of these failing cities run by democrats having mainly minorities is that democrats are supposed to be the party that cares about minorities, yet are failing them on a grand scale.

            Male victims of domestic abuse have a 47% chance to be threatened by police, 35% of being completely ignored, and a 21% chance of being arrested themselves (http://bit.ly/1LqeXod). Of the abused men who called domestic violence hotlines, 64% were told that they “only helped women.” In 32% of the cases, the abused men were referred to batterers’ programs. Another 25% were given a phone number to call that turned out to be a batterers’ program. A little over a quarter of them were given a reference to a local program that helped. Sixteen percent said the people at the hot line “dismissed or made fun of them. (http://bit.ly/1LxdnxJ)

            Here (http://bit.ly/1H8dlga) is a long and sourced post on how the government only has initiatives to combat “violence against women” and how feminists have skewed the definition of rape to leave out men, especially when it comes to female-on-male (while also leaving out female-on-female). It is on tumblr, but like I said, the post is properly sourced.

            I’ll elaborate on my point about the false narratives you and others are claiming about these mass shootings/terror attacks. The fact is that unless it’s a conservative-leaning outlet, which do not control the mainstream narrative, people are usually avoiding everything when it comes to non-white shooters or likely lone-wolf terrorist attacks. Alto Nolan, a man who converted to Islam, tried to convert his co-workers, and then beheaded one. Despite his facebook showing proof he was very much against America and wanted to cause destruction and chaos in the name of Islam, most news outlets were not only ignoring those facts, but were very adamant on it being “workplace violence.” Or Ali Muhammad Brown, a Muslim man with direct ties to terrorist groups who executed four Americans (including a 19 year old) within a short period of time as payback for America’s involvement in the Middle East. The media pretty much ignored it, even Fox News barely covered it much. And despite his confession to being a jihadist, he apparently is still not being referred to as a terrorist. The same was the case with Nidal Hassan (Muslim shooter at Fort Hood), Aaron Alexis (Black D.C. Navy Yard Shooter), Jaylen Fryberg (Native American Marysville Pilchuck High School shooter), John Allen Muhammad (Muslim D.C. sniper), and Seung-Hui Cho (Korean Virginia Tech shooter), so who were mentally ill and some who were clearly terrorists. But they all had one thing in common: they were no white and the media (despite popular belief) did not demand all Koreans or Muslims to own up for the actions of one person which is what the media is doing with white people every time there is a white mass shooter, especially with this horrible tragedy.

            And if we are not allowed to bring up the fact that African Americans have been the vast majority of serial killers for the past 2 decades (and rising) of the fact that they make up about 13% of the population but half of all violent crimes, then why is it right to bring up the fact that in a majority white country, whites make up the majority of mass shooters (but still don’t make up the majority of gun violence)?

            Whenever the tragedy happens like this and it’s a white-male shooter, the media glorifies him and people literally blame all white people for it. When it’s a woman or a non-white shooter, the media barely covers it and certainly never brings up the shooter’s race/gender. As I recall, the 2013 D.C. Navy Yard Shooting was covered for maybe 4 days, 5 tops, whereas Sandy Hook received media attention for about 1 year strait and still gets some here and there. If anything is worth discussing, aside from the media’s infatuation for white-male shooters, is that nearly all of these men who committed these acts showed signs of being mentally unstable and not enough was done. The mother of the Sandy Hook shooter even had him in counseling, but she still had all those guns lying around and nothing was done to prevent any of that horrible day. Another thing that people don’t like to talk about is the fact that gun control is a myth. There were several laws in place that Roof broke, he was not even legally able to own a gun. His father will likely be charged for illegally gifting him that gun. And I know most don’t want to hear it, but if the church was not a “gun-free” zone and at least one person had a gun on them, maybe not as many lives would have been lost. Look at Alton Nolen in Oklahoma, had someone not had a gun and shot him, he would have beheaded another woman whom he was in the process of doing so when shot. Or how about the Pennsylvania doctor who very likely stopped a mass shooting by having a gun on him and even the police said so?

            You’re just fueling the fire and adding in commentary that is not only not needed, but creating a larger divide.

    • ? says:

      “Unfettered.” Educate yourself.

  11. Leah says:

    Very powerful speech. Beautifully given. Just wow.

  12. Tom says:

    So great to hear someone speak the truth and be real

  13. Ray says:

    This is a good video, but Viacom has apparently shut down the one where Jon, and the rest of the staff, actually cry about the 9 victims…. most moving few minutes I have ever seen! Wonder if Viacom will try to profit more from that segment.