Commentary: Why Larry Wilmore Rocks

Commentary: Why Larry Wilmore Rocks

The Nightly Show host will #KeepIt100, even if you don't like what he has to say.

Published February 18, 2015


It's been one month since the debut of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central (appropriately, the show bowed on Martin Luther King Day), and if we've learned one thing about host Larry Wilmore, it's that he isn't afraid to use his platform to tackle issues of race — even if you don't like to hear what he has to say.

Talking about the injustices perpetrated against the Black community by mainstream America seemed like a given (he did so numerous times as the Senior Black Correspondent on the Daily Show), but while many Black political pundits walk in fear of inciting the backlash of the community for addressing the nuances of racial politics or daring to criticize esteemed Black public figures, Wilmore refuses to soften his stance. 

In his first two weeks on the air, Wilmore managed to call out everyone from President Obama to Bill Cosby ("that motherf***** did it!") and even took a swipe at "bossy" Black women. (It's a testament to his common sense that he apologized for that last one). He admitted on air that he voted for the president "because he's Black," and expressed indifference at the Academy's lack of diversity. ("Oh, Black people didn't get nominated for an Oscar? I mean [yawning]...I guess I'm mad.")

Bring on the hashtags, Black Twitter, because Larry Wilmore won't back down.

In the panel segment of his show, modeled after Real Time With Bill Maher, Wilmore refuses to engage split-screen shouting matches or posturing, instead asking his panelists — which, to date, have included Talib Kweli, Gabrielle Union, Common and a host of politicians and experts of all shades and genders — to #KeepIt100. If he senses any hedging or politically correct answers, Wilmore won't hesitate to toss bags of Lipton ("weak tea") in their direction. How else do you get Common to admit he'd skip the birth of his child to play in the Super Bowl?

Unlike anything we've seen on cable news, real or fake, before, Wilmore holds himself to the same standard. In the final segment of his show every night, dubbed "Goodnightly," Wilmore will #KeepIt100 with any question, no matter how hard, submitted by his Twitter followers. The questions are picked at random, and Wilmore is always completely honest in his response.

Jokes aside, Wilmore's brand of candid, constructive discourse — minus the shaming that usually comes with it — around serious topics like race, sexual politics and the future of America is exactly what the country needs right now. The Nightly Show is another example of how the "Fake News" is getting more relevant than the so-called real news, and Wilmore is a worthy heir to the throne.

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 (Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Written by Evelyn Diaz

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