On Monday, Jimmy Fallon decided not to open The Tonight Show with his usual funny monologue, instead opting to address the heartbreaking situation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Fallon took a departure from the show's apolitical nature to deliver an emotionally-charged speech on racism, hate, and President Trump:
"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," said a somber Fallon to his audience. "What happened over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., 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."
Fallon continued his speech, saying that he can't imagine his daughters, Winnie Rose, 4, and Francis Cole, 2, growing up in a world with such hate.
"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," said Fallon. "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."
At one point, Fallon got choked up, but managed to finish his speech.
Ultimately, the opener was widely hailed as important and powerful:
But not everyone is singing his praises. Some were quick to call Fallon out as a hypocrite seeing that he "humanized" Trump in 2016 by having him as a guest on his show, and infamously ruffling his hair at the end of their interview.
Other late night hosts also addressed Charlottesville on their shows.
Jimmy Kimmel had a more lighthearted, but still very biting, approach:
Seth Meyers gave an uncharacteristically serious speech:
And, of course, Stephen Colbert criticized Trump during his opening monologue:
Perhaps Fallon's politically charged monologue is a sign that the late show host is ready to publicly pick a side, or perhaps this is just a one-time-thing, but one thing is for sure: there will be no presidential hair-ruffling in Fallon's future.