Jimmy Fallon eschewed his usual joke-filled monologue during Monday night’s broadcast of The Tonight Show to opt instead for a sober reaction to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, at which one person was killed and another 19 injured when a man drove a car into a crowd.
“Even thought The Tonight Show isn’t a political show, it’s my responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being,” a clearly emotional Fallon opened the show.
“What happened over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, was just disgusting,” he continued. “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 said his young daughters were in the next room playing, and he could not figure out how to tell them there is “so much hatred in this world.”
“As kids grow up, they need people to look up to, to show them what’s right, and good,” he continued. “They need parents and teachers, and 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, and I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something.”
“It’s important for everyone, especially white people in this country, to speak out against this. Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it,” he added.
Fallon concluded by urging his viewers to “stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists, and stand for what is right, and civil, and kind.”
The somber monologue was unusual for Fallon, who has said in the past that he tries to avoid politics on his show.
Watch Fallon’s full monologue above.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum