NEW YORK — Six of America’s late-night television comedy hosts — five of them white men — turned serious after the nation’s weekend of unrest following the death of George Floyd to suggest they and others need to do more than talk about racism.
It has become a ritual — a somewhat inexplicable one, as TBS’ Conan O’Brien noted — for these comics to come on the air after acts of terrorism, school shootings or other national traumas to try and make sense of them for their audiences. Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving.
“Today feels very different,” O’Brien said Monday night. “It doesn’t feel right to talk about my feelings of sadness and anger. That truly feels inadequate and somehow wrong.”
Instead, O’Brien said it was important to listen to people who have direct experience with “our national crisis,” the fact that much of the black community in the United States doesn’t feel safe, seen or heard.