Watch Jimmy Fallon Confront The Charlottesville Violence In This Emotional Monologue
It wasn't a normal evening of late night jokes on The Tonight Show Monday. Jimmy Fallon, who has largely tried to stay apolitical since President Trump's surprising election win in November, took a moment to address the political and historical moment in which the country finds itself. In an emotional monologue, Fallon confronted the Charlottesville violence. He even criticized the president, a significant departure from his typical posturing.
Fallon acknowledged the temporary change in course. "Even though the Tonight Show isn't a political show, it's my responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being," Fallon told the audience. "What happened over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, was just disgusting." He was referring to the white supremacist march and violence that resulted in the death of one counter-protestor; dozens more were hurt.
"I was watching the news like everyone else, and you're seeing Nazi flags and torches and white supremacists, and I was sick to my stomach," Fallon explained. He referenced his own daughters, and how at their age they "don't know what hate is."
"They go to the playground and they have friends of all races and backgrounds," he explained. "They just play, and they laugh, and they have fun."
"But as kids grow up, they need people to look up to. To show them what's right and good. They need parents and teachers, and they need leaders who appeal to the best in us," Fallon said, alluding to Trump's lack of a response. He then added his most political comment:
Fallon also acknowledged the sacrifices of those who have fought against racism and white supremacist ideologies. "There are people who have given their lives to ensure this kind of hate doesn't spread," he continued. "They fought and died on the right side of history." Among those ranks, Fallon counted Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old who was run down by a white nationalist.
Jimmy Fallon does not open The Tonight Show with jokes in the aftermath of Charlottesville https://t.co/Mq26kVCkWl— John Koblin (@koblin) August 15, 2017
"We all need to stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists, and stand up for what is right, and civil, and kind," Fallon said. "And to show the next generation that we haven't forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights. We cannot do this. We can't go backward. We can't go backward."
Fallon then moved on to normal programming, something that was only possible after his sober thoughts. His statement was necessary — not just for The Tonight Show but for the whole country.