Funnyman Jimmy Fallon put the laughs on hold Monday as he stepped onto "The Tonight Show" stage to deliver a serious monologue in the wake of the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
Speaking not just as host, but also as a concerned father of two young children, Fallon fought back tears to tell his audience he felt it was his "responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism."
"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," he said. "My daughters are in the next room playing and I’m thinking, ‘How can I explain to them that there’s so much hatred in this world?’ They’re 2 years old and 4 years old. They don’t know what hate is. They go to the playground and they have friends of all races and backgrounds, and they just play, and they laugh, and they have fun."
Fallon called the events in Charlottesville "disgusting" and voiced his frustration about the amount of time it took before President Trump denounced the white nationalist groups responsible, which brought him to the heart of his message as a parent: "Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it."
"As kids grow up, they need people to look up to, to show them what’s right, and good," he urged. "They need parents and teachers, and they need leaders who appeal to the best in us."
With his voice breaking at times, Fallon honored 32-year-old protester Heather Heyer, who died "standing up for what's right." Her sacrifice brought Fallon's thoughts back to his girls, Winnie and Frances, again.
"I can’t look at my beautiful, growing, curious daughters and say nothing when this kind of thing is happening," he added.