The Valentine’s Day mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has left late-night hosts, once again, struggling to incorporate a public response to horrible events into their comedy shows. On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert invited Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to The Late Show for a straight-ahead policy approach. The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, walking as it does in Colbert’s Comedy Central ironic satire boots, had a trickier task. Especially as Klepper’s first guest segment saw the faux-conservative blowhard sitting across from Stoneman Douglas seniors, shooting survivors, and newly energized gun control activists, Carly Novell and Delaney Tarr.
Having endured not only the unthinkable horror of last Wednesday’s massacre but also a week’s worth of attacks from right wing conspiracy nuts and assorted smirking conservative assholes like Dinesh D’Souza, Tomi Lahren, and Jack Kingston accusing them of being naive, disingenuous, or even imposter “crisis actors,” the young women fielded Klepper’s snarky fake outrage like with aplomb. Addressing the favorite NRA-backed politician talking point that “it’s too soon” to talk about gun control, Novell responded that waiting to talk about gun control “is what got us to this point.” Tarr dismantled the “talk about anything but guns” strategy, too, calling the idea of metal detectors, fences, and armed teachers both “temporary solutions for a much bigger issue” and, more to the point, “a Band-Aid on a stab wound.” And both students scoffed at those suggesting that the unprecedentedly vocal Stoneman Douglas students are being either emotional or coached in their outrage. “We all know about it,” Tarr explained, “and in the last few days, we’ve become a lot more researched.” Klepper, feigning chagrin, could only respond, “You don’t bring a well-researched argument to a gunfight.”
Noting that the Stoneman Douglas activists have organized with students around the country, Tarr and Novell said that part of their goal as young people poised to vote in the 2018 midterms is to make accepting NRA money “a badge of shame.” They also announced the date of the student-led March For Our Lives on March 24, intended to show politicians (like those in the Florida House, which, earlier in the day, voted against debate on an assault weapons ban) that this rising generation of voters have some strong feelings about sensible gun control. Klepper—claiming only to be doing so to be sure he won’t attend the march—made sure to repeat the date of the March For Our Lives many, many times. You know, March 24. That’s when it’s happening. The 24th of March. Coming to a city near you—on March 24.