As the nation continues to cope in the aftermath of a shooting at an Orlando nightclub that killed at least 49 people and injured 53 others early Sunday morning, the tragedy hit especially close to home for Andy Cohen, who is openly gay. "This has touched me probably more than anything, just because I think I could have been there," he told ET's Brad Bessey in the Bravo Clubhouse on Monday. "When I look at the pictures of the victims, I see their faces and I see people that I know and that I relate to."
Andy said it's especially difficult for him to fathom knowing that many in the LGBT community feel the most comfortable in gay nightclubs like Pulse. "You go to a gay bar, and for some people it's the only safe place that they have, so the idea that these people who were there to be just with people that they love, to be safe, and have fun were killed being who they are just kills me," he said. "It's a scary, scary reminder that there are really awful people in the world."
The Watch What Happens Live host said the Orlando shooting has inspired him to speak out against gun violence. "Nobody needs an assault rifle except the people who are actually protecting us," he explained. "It made me feel like I'm gonna do what I can as a citizen to get rid of assault weapons. I think we all have a responsibility to raise our voices."
Andy did just that when he attended a vigil held outside of New York's legendary Stonewall Inn Monday night and read aloud several of the victims' names. "I'm a gay American, and I'm a gay New Yorker. And there was a vigil in my neighborhood that I went to as a citizen," he told ET. "I didn't expect to take part in it. I just wanted to pay tribute to those people."
He also delivered a heartfelt message to viewers just hours after the tragedy during Sunday's WWHL (clip above). Although it was difficult for the emcee to do, he said he felt like it was his duty to provide a bit of levity during that dark time. “I've never wanted to go on TV less than I did last night,” he revealed. “But nobody's watching my show to hear about the news, they're watching my show to smile and so at the end of the day, that's kind of my vow to people who watch the show — I'm gonna make you smile no matter what happened that's horrible in the day.”