Stephen Colbert was himself finally. After ten years of pretending to be a Bill O’Reilly manque and even into his brief tenure as the “real Stephen Colbert” on CBS, Colbert admitted that he’s only supposed to be “not pretending anymore.” But then in a long, ranging monologue — in which he confessed to not knowing how to start the show after the community college shootings in Oregon — Colbert was himself: appalled, frustrated, angry, quizzical, distraught and helpless in the face of recurring gun violence that keeps stealing innocent lives. Like the rest of us.
“I honestly don’t know what to do or say… I don’t know how to start a show like this, which is often about what happened in the last 24 hours.” Despite his long practice at pretending, he said, he couldn’t, “pretend it didn’t happen.” And neither should the rest of us. Over and over again it happens, Colbert said, yet we “pretend it won’t happen again.” He doesn’t have the answers. But “changing nothing and pretending that something will change.”