Huffington Post: Laughter After 9/11: The Moments David Letterman, Jon Stewart & Others Brought Us Back
On this national day of reflection and memorial, we want to once again take a look back at those moments that proved the “healing power of comedy” to be true.
From David Letterman’s first night back at “Late Show” to The Onion’s brilliantly cathartic post-9/11 issue to Gilbert Gottfried’s legendarily filthy roast of Hugh Hefner, these are the times we realized that it was okay, and even necessary, to laugh again.
On September 17, David Letterman was the first comedian to return to the air. His opening monologue has been called
“one of the purest, most honest and important moments in TV history.” Toward the end of his remarks, he gave voice to the utter confusion many Americans felt: “We’re told they were zealots fueled by religious fervor. Religious fervor. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any goddamn sense?” The full clip of Letterman’s opening remarks can be seen here
and the full transcript is here
The Daily Show
Jon Stewart followed in Letterman’s footsteps on Sept. 20, speaking from the heart and trying to make sense of things. “The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center. Now it’s gone … But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is the Statue of Liberty. You can’t beat that.”
Late Night With Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien, who was then the host of “Late Night” in New York, opened his first show following the tragedy by thanking his audience: “I want to begin by thanking a studio audience that would come here and support New York and the show, and everything, just — in the situation in general — just for being here,” Conan started. “It’s just tremendous for you to be here.” An unofficial (and bizarrely framed) video of the monologue can be seen here.