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What I Watched Last Night: The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore

Ever since Comedy Central announced that Larry Wilmore would be taking over Stephen Colbert’s timeslot after The Daily Show, I’ve been super excited to see how it would turn out. After all, the other TDS alums who have branched out to do their own shows have done very well; The Colbert Report was freaking hilarious and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is absolutely brilliant. Will The Nightly Show live up to our expectations?

Y’all, I was cracking up before we even got to the show’s opening credits and had tears streaming down my face by the first commercial. And then it got even better.

Tonightly, the Oscar nominations are out, and they’re so white a grand jury has decided not to indict them. Oprah marched on Selma this weekend; she has a dream that Selma shall overcome The Wedding Ringer at the box office. Yeah, we talk Selma, Ferguson, and Eric Garner. It’s Comedy Central’s worst nightmare! A brother finally gets a show on late night TV. Yeah, but of course he’s got to work on Martin Luther King Day.

The first segment was pretty standard fare that could have easily appeared on The Daily Show, if TDS had a black host. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t funny, of course!


Wilmore started off by lamenting that he hadn’t gotten a show a year earlier, because “all the good bad race stuff happened already.” But hey, let’s talk about those Oscar nominations. After joking that it was more shocking that The Lego Movie got snubbed than that the Oscars overlooked black people as usual, the show got into the real issue of black protests. In response to Rev. Al Sharpton’s emergency meeting about them overlooking Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo, Wilmore reminded him that, “You’re not Black Batman,” and asks if maybe we’re protesting too many things.

And even as I speak tonight, there’s a demonstration going on in Grand Central Station, because, you know, there’s no better way to win the hearts and minds of white people than making them miss their train to Connecticut.

While some people may think protests don’t work, Wilmore laid out examples of some that did — marches for climate change that resulted in a new accord between the U.S. and China; minimum wage increases in 21 states. Hell, even Harry Potter fans got Warner Brothers to use fair-trade chocolate in their HP branded candy bars! The issue with the current black protests is, “The goals are less tangible… today we’re just trying to not get shot on our way to work.” And it doesn’t help that just yesterday, we found out that some Florida cops are using mug shots of black men for target practice.


The next segment is where the format was totally different from the other comedy shows and instead was more reminiscent of Sunday morning political talk shows.

Wilmore hosted a panel discussion on the state of black protests, featuring our boyfriend Sen. Cory Booker, singer/activist Talib Kweli, comedian Bill Burr, and Bollywood actress turned TNS contributor Shenaz Treasury. It was pretty fucking awesome to see three black men, an Asian woman, and a token white guy sit down on TV to talk to each other.


The final segment was called “Keep It 100,” which is slang for keeping it 100% real. Wilmore asked each panelist one question that they had to answer honestly, lest they get pelted with weak tea. Talib Kweli tried to hedge about whether hip-hop is a positive or negative influence, since record companies tend to push a particular sort of image that isn’t necessarily the best representation of black culture, but that we shouldn’t judge all hip-hop the same. Bill Burr admitted than — given the statistics they’d just discussed — if he could choose what race his child would be, he’d want a white child (his wife is black). Shenaz Treasury said that if there were white and black guys on opposite sides of the street, she’d walk down the side with the guy who was hotter. Cory Booker claimed that no, he doesn’t want to be president. He got pelted with tea bags.

One of the coolest parts of the show is that each episode will end with Larry Wilmore answering a question from Twitter, and he has to keep it 100 too. Since Monday was the first episode, he had to answer a question from his staff about the last racist thought he’d had, which was him wondering if a particular white woman thought he was going to steal her purse. For tonight’s show, he asked us to ask him anything we want about Bill Cosby. There are already some interesting questions rolling in on #KeepIt100, and I can’t wait to see which one they pick.

Did you tune in last night? What did you think? I doubt I’ll stay up to watch the show, but I’m definitely going to catch it on the replays or watch online.


By [E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

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