Jon Stewart & Larry Wilmore react to the Charleston church shooting

Senior Television Writer

Earlier this week, we got a reminder of how much the TV world will miss Jon Stewart for all the laughter he brings, with his overjoyed reaction to Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement. Last night, we got a reminder of how valuable he can be even when there's nothing he can possibly joke about.

Here's the opening to last night's “The Daily Show,” where Stewart turned fully into an Aaron Sorkin character, in the best possible way, as he admitted he had no comedy to provide his audience in the wake of the Charleston church shooting.

This is as angry as I've ever heard Stewart, in part because he seemed so resigned to that anger, having opened too many shows responding to national tragedies.

Despite this horror being so far, Stewart's old friend Larry Wilmore did, interestingly, find a way to tell a few jokes about the situation on “The Nightly Show,” but of course only in the context of Fox News' coverage of the massacre, and all of his jokes were laced with anger. (As he put it, Fox News' coverage “makes my f–king head explode.”)

A few days before his show launched, Wilmore told me he hoped he could find a way into very serious news stories like the mess in Ferguson, even within the context of a comedy show. While most of last night's episode was a sober discussion of what happened in Charleston, why, and what it means, he did manage to get a laugh or two first without in any way making light of what had happened.

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