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Late night hosts Conan, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher speak out about Paris attack

Conan O'Brien in a screen shot from the Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2015 edition of
Conan O'Brien in a screen shot from the Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2015 edition of "Conan."

While some took a "the show must go on" approach and largely avoided bringing down a comedy show by addressing the attack in Paris on satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, several late night hosts tried to grapple with the attack and what it means for comedy.

Jon Stewart opened up "The Daily Show" by directly addressing the attack and expressing his condolences.

"I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn't have to be that," Stewart said, "but those guys at Hebdo had it, and they were killed for their cartoons. A stark reminder that, for the most part, the legislators and journalists and institutions that we jab and ridicule are not, in any way, the enemy. For however frustrating or outraged the back and forth can become, it's still back and forth conversation of those on, let's call it Team Civilization."

Stewart said that there was no sense to be made of what had happened, and that they weren't going to try to do that on Wednesday night's show — they were just going to try to keep going.

Stewart also closed the show with a Charlie Hebdo-themed Moment of Zen:

Conan O'Brien opened Wednesday night's "Conan" talking about the Paris attack.

"This story really hits home for anyone who, day in and day out, mocks political, social and religious figures. In this country, we just take it for granted that it's our right to poke fun at the untouchable, or the sacred. But today's tragedy in Paris reminds us, very viscerally, that it's a right some people are inexplicably forced to die for."

O'Brien added that he felt sad not just for the victims, but for those who will now have to think twice before making a joke, saying "It's not the way it's supposed to be."

Jimmy Kimmel discussed the attack on his show with Bill Maher, the comedian and political satirist who hosts HBO's "Real Time." Maher has been outspoken about religious extremism (and religion in general), and spoke about the connection between that extremism and the Paris attack. Maher also pointed out that he appeared in recent headline-grabbing satire "The Interview."

Watch the full interview:

Bill Maher on Jimmy Kimmel

How should satirists deal with the attack against Charlie Hebdo? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.