The mass shooting at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted heartfelt tributes from government leaders, cartoonists, and more — and during the opening monologue of last night's edition of "The Daily Show," host Jon Stewart spoke up for comedians.
"Our hearts are with the staff of Charlie Hebdo and their families tonight," he said at the top of the episode. "I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn't have to be that. It shouldn't be an act of courage. It should be taken as established law. But those guys at Hebdo had it, and they were killed for their cartoons."
Stewart said the deadly shooting provides a "stark reminder that, for the most part, the legislators and journalists and institutions that we jab and ridicule are not in any way the enemy. For however frustrating or outraged the back and forth can become, it's still a back and forth; a conversation on, let's call it 'Team Civilization.' This type of violence only clarifies this reality."
Conan O'Brien also began last night's episode of "Conan" by speaking about the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, saying, "Obviously, all of us here are accustomed to bad news around the world — but this story really hits home for anybody who day in and day out mocks political, social and religious figures."
"In this country, we just take for granted that it's our right to poke fun at the untouchable and the sacred," he said. "But today's tragedy in Paris reminds us very viscerally that it's a right some people are very inexplicably forced to die for."
"It is very important tonight that I express that everybody who works at our comedy show — and believe it or not, this is a comedy show, that's what we're trying to do here — all of us are terribly sad for the families of those victims, for the people of France, and for anybody in the world tonight who now has to think twice before making a joke. It's not the way it's supposed to be."