Good evening and welcome to "The
Daily Show." We are back. This is our first show since the tragedy
in New York City. There is no other way really to start this show
than to ask you at home the question that we've asked the audience
here tonight and that weíve asked everybody that we know here
in New York since September 11th, and that is, "Are you okay?"
We pray that you are and that your family is. Iím sorry to do
this to you. Itís another entertainment show beginning with an
overwrought speech of a shaken host. TV is nothing, if not redundant.
So, I apologize for that. Itís something that unfortunately, we
do for ourselves so that we can drain whatever abscess is in our
hearts and move onto the business of making you laugh, which we
really havenít been able to do very effectively lately. Everyoneís
checked in already, I know weíre late. Iím sure weíre getting
in right under the wire before the cast of "Survivor" offers their
insight into what to do in these situations.
They said to get back to work. There were no
jobs available for a man in the fetal position under his desk
crying, which I would have gladly taken. So I came back here.
Tonightís show is obviously not a regular show. We looked through
the vaults, we found some clips that we thought might make you
smile, which is really whatís necessary, I think, right about
now. A lot of folks have asked me, "What are you going to do when
you get back? What are you going to say?" I mean, what a terrible
thing to have to do. I donít see it as a burden at all. I see
it as a privilege. I see it as a privilege and everyone here does
see it that way. The show in general, we feel like is a privilege.
Just even the idea that we can sit in the back of the country
and make wise cracks, which is really what we do. We sit in the
back and we throw spitballs, but never forgetting the fact that
is a luxury in this country that allows us to do that. This is
a country that allows for open satire, and I know that sounds
basic and it sounds as though it goes without saying - but thatís
really what this whole situation is about. Itís the difference
between closed and open. Itís the difference between free and
burden and we donít take that for granted here by any stretch
of the imagination and our show has changed. I donít doubt that.
What itís become, I donít know. "Subliminable" is not a punch
line anymore. One day it will become that again, and Lord willing,
it will become that again because that means we have ridden out
But the main reason that I wanted to speak tonight
is not to tell you what the show is going to be. Not to tell you
about all the incredibly brave people that are here in New York
and in Washington and around the country. But weíve had an enduring
pain here - an endurable pain. I wanted to tell you why I grieve,
but why I donít despairÖIím sorry. Luckily we can edit this. One
of my first memories is of Martin Luther King being shot. I was
five and if you wonder if this feeling will passÖWhen I was five,
he was shot. Hereís what I remember about it. I was in a school
in Trenton. They shut the lights off and we got to sit under our
desks and we thought that was really cool and they gave us cottage
cheese, which was a cold lunch because there was rioting, but
we didnít know that. We just thought that ďMy god. We get to sit
under our desks and eat cottage cheese.Ē Thatís what I remember
about it. That was a tremendous test of this countryís fabric
and this countryís had many tests before that and after that.
The reason I donít despair is because this attack
happened. Itís not a dream. But the aftermath of it, the recovery
is a dream realized. And that is Martin Luther King's dream. Whatever
barriers we've put up are gone even if it's momentary. We're judging
people by not the color of their skin but the content of their
character. You know, all this talk about "These guys are criminal
masterminds. Theyíve gotten together and their extraordinary guileÖand
their wit and their skill." It's a lie. Any fool can blow something
up. Any fool can destroy. But to see these guys, these firefighters,
these policemen and people from all over the country, literally,
with buckets rebuilding. That's extraordinary. That's why we've
already won. It's light. It's democracy. We've already won. They
can't shut that down. They live in chaos and chaosÖit can't sustain
itself. It never could. It's too easy and it's too unsatisfying.
The view from my apartment was the World Trade
Center and now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of American
ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce
and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue
of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue
of Liberty. You can't beat that.
So we're going to take a break and I'm going
to stop slobbering on myself and on the desk. Weíre going to get
back to this. It's gonna be fun and funny and it's going to be
the same as it was and I thank you. We'll be right back.