There were no jokes in Jimmy Fallon’s Monday Tonight Show monologue. An emotional Fallon delivered a powerful statement on his reaction to the violent events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend and President Trump’s delayed response.
“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,” he began.
“What happened over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, was just disgusting. 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,” he said, fighting back tears.
“My daughters are in the next room playing, and I’m thinking, how can I explain to them that there is so much hatred in this world.” Fallon said his kids, who are two years old and four years old, “don’t know what hate is,” need people to look up to. Not only parents and teachers, but also “leaders who appeal to the best in us.
“The fact that it took the president two days to come out and clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful,” said Fallon, like a guy who now understands what people were talking about when they blasted him for “normalizing” Trump when he guested on Tonight Show and took no tough questions but got a playful hair-muss.
“I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something.”
Fallon also paid tribute to Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old who was killed in Charlottesville “standing up for what’s right.”
“We all need to stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists, and stand up for all that is right, and civil, and kind,” Fallon continued.
“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.”
You can watch the full clip above.
Lisa de Moraes contributed to this story.