Late-night TV hosts returned to their shows Monday to discuss the Minneapolis protests and George Floyd’s death.
Stephen Colbert spoke about Donald Trump being taken to an underground bunker amid the protests Friday, telling “Late Show” viewers: “Now, in times like these, we need empathetic and moral leadership. Unfortunately, we have Donald Trump.
“If history has taught us anything it’s that things always work well for strongmen who retreat to underground bunkers,” he added, alluding to Adolf Hitler.
Colbert continued, “For too long, those of us with opportunity and privilege have failed in our responsibility to look at the truth squarely and name the system of racial oppression that artificially divides us and benefits those already in positions of relative power.
“It is time to ask ourselves, as it’s always the time to ask ourselves, what kind of nation do we want to live in?” he added. “That requires moral leadership. So take it upon yourself to be a leader and set an example of the kind of country you want to live in. That might mean going to a protest or making a donation or having a tense conversation about race.”
“But you’re not going to get that from the White House,” Colbert shared. “So we need to step up and provide it ourselves. America is now officially BYOP: Be Your Own President.”
Seth Meyers added of police brutality on “Late Night”: “The police can’t even get through protests against police brutality without committing more police brutality. It’s like if your wife accused you of having an affair in divorce court and you tried to smooth it over by seducing the judge.”
While James Corden told viewers, “I’ve been struggling all weekend, wondering what to say to you here tonight. Because who needs my opinion? Like, why is my voice relevant? There is not one person in the world who woke up this morning and thought, ‘I need to know what James Corden thinks about all of this.’
“Like surely this is a time for me to listen, not talk. And then I realized that that is part of the problem. People like me have to speak up.”
Bandleader Reggie Watts then got emotional as he discussed the racism he endured as a child.
He said, “It’s hard. There’s so much happening.”
Conan O’Brien added on his show, “It doesn’t feel right for me to talk about my feelings of sadness and anger. To do that today feels inadequate and even somehow wrong.
“Our national crisis is that a large and vital community in our country is in real pain. Pain because they do not feel safe, or dignified, or seen. Or most important of all, they do not feel heard,” saying he was going to “listen” during his show, chatting to Van Jones as a guest.
Floyd died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes last Monday.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired, with Chauvin subsequently arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.