Jimmy Kimmel Says It’s Late Night’s Job to Talk Mass Shootings Because ‘Nobody Is Doing Anything About It at All’

TCA 2019: “Our politicians don’t seem to care about what we think anymore,” Kimmel tells TV critics

ABC/Randy Holmes

Jimmy Kimmel said he’s getting too familiar with having to comfort viewers in the wake of mass shootings — including the two over the weekend in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas — but that’s because late-night hosts are the only ones willing to address it.

“I think there’s now an expectation that late-night talk shows will address these horrible things. I wish we didn’t have to, but nobody is doing anything about it at all,” Kimmel said during the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday. “We seem to forget about these tragedies nationally four days after they happen.”

Over the weekend, the U.S. was struck by two deadly mass shootings in less than 24 hours that killed at least 30 people and injured dozens more — first at an El Paso Walmart and mall, where 20 people died, and then early Sunday morning outside a nightclub in Dayton, Ohio, which where 10 other people died, including the suspect’s. A week earlier, a deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California killed three people.

Kimmel argued that just about every American believes we should have common-sense gun control policies, but that “our politicians” don’t seem to care” about what the American people believe. “My hope always in situations like that is to — I know that I don’t have any thoughts that are new or groundbreaking, and usually by the time we get on the air, there’s been 24-48 hours of news coverage — but to just remind people that 97% of Americans believe that we should have background checks for purchases at gun shows.”

President Donald Trump on Monday called on Americans to reject racism and bigotry after the two mass shootings, describing the attacks as “domestic terrorism.” Shortly before his speech, the president went on Twitter to blame the media for the nation’s “anger and rage.”

“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver began his show on Sunday with a call for America to not allow itself to embrace numbness as a coping mechanism. “While the depressingly familiar numbness that you may be currently feeling can help you handle the pain in the short term, in the long term it can actually be a real problem, because unless something hurts as much as it’s supposed to, nothing gets done about it,” Oliver said. “And something has got to be done here, and not just about guns.”