Colbert had a similar moment on Friday's Late Show, in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting in the US, this time at a community college in Umpqua, Oregon.
He admitted he had nothing funny to say:
In the face of the killings in Oregon yesterday, I honestly don't know what to do or say, other than that our hearts are broken for the people struck by this senseless tragedy. And I don't know how to start a show like this, which is often about whatever happened in the last 24 hours. I can't pretend that it didn't happen. I also can't pretend to know what to do to prevent what happened yesterday all the times it has happened before.
But I think pretending is part of the problem. These things happen over and over again, and we are naturally horrified and shocked when we hear about them. But then we change nothing, and we pretend that it won't happen again.
Some say the answer is stricter gun laws. Others say the answer is mental healthcare — that we need better treatment or just keep the guns out of the hands of the insane. Maybe it's both, I honestly don't know. But I do know that one of the definitions of insanity is changing nothing and then pretending that something will change.