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Remembering 9/11: How Late-Night Comedy Bounced Back After the Tragedy

Late-Night Shows After 9/11
NBC/NBC/Comedy Central

The events of September 11, 2001 will forever be engraved in American history as one of the most tragic events, and the most impactful moment of our lifetime. But while the country collectively grieved over the human casualties, none were more affected than the residents of New York City. It was there that the devastation occurred and it was there that the survivors, the families of the victims and the city itself had to rebuild their lives.

At the time, most couldn’t find the proper words to address the situation, but despite this challenge, it was left to all the late-night shows and media outlets that we often turn to for guidance to help us make sense of 9/11 and help us move on.

Shows like ‘SNL,’ ‘Conan‘ and ‘The Daily Show‘ that rely on humor had the biggest obstacle, which was to keep us smiling through this difficult time. Most tried to commemorate 9/11 with special episodes, but it was Jay Leno who ultimately stepped out completely of his normal comedic shtick by helping to raise money for the victims.

Watch the late-night shows’ first episodes after the tragic events of 9/11.

Reese Witherspoon Hosts ‘SNL’

‘Late Show With David Letterman’

‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart

Conan O’Brien

‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’

Jay Leno
NBC

Jay Leno, though not based out of New York, stepped up to the plate during his first show after 9/11 by teaming up with Harley-Davidson to auction off a commemorative FXDL Dyna Low Rider bike to help raise money for the victims.

The vehicle, which had been signed by John Travolta, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone, among a number of other of Leno’s celebrity guests, was purchased by a Mr. Frank Davis reportedly for $360,000.

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