A president's term hasn't come to a close until he lets loose — and gets made fun of — at a White House Correspondents' Dinner. On April 30, comedian Larry Wilmore will host Obama's final WHCD and the match is so perfect, he and the president might just bro out on stage. In the midst of the current political chaos, that's exactly what we need.
The White House Correspondents' Association founded the event in the early 1900s and proceeds go towards journalism scholarships and other awards for driven students. Though it's hosted by the press corps, the president, government officials, and other celebrities have traditionally attended. Carol Lee, a White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and WHCD president, praised Wilmore after the association announced his new role in December 2015.
Larry's edgy, even provocative, brand of humor means he's certainly up to the task of skewering politicians of all ideological stripes, and we don't expect the nation's news media to escape unscathed, either.
Wilmore has written for In Living Color and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, created and produced The Bernie Mac Show, was a consulting producer for the first three seasons of The Office, and has acted in various comedies. Later in his career, Comedy Central selected him to replace Stephen Colbert's slot on primetime television. What used to be The Colbert Report is now The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Given his ample experience with comedy, he'll have at least a few tricks up his sleeve on Saturday. And that's exactly what Obama's last WHCD needs. Here's why:
1) No One Will Be Spared
The WHCD is essentially a roast and Wilmore isn't planning on showing much mercy. On Monday, he told CBS This Morning that he's nervous to host such a big event, but not the least bit hesitant to poke some fun at people sitting in front of him. "I think they like that," he said. "It's this weird type of group masochism."
2) Including Obama ...
He may be the most powerful man in the country, but that isn't stopping Wilmore. When CBS asked whether he'll criticize a president of whom he's been quite favorable, the comedian stuck to true roast form.
I like Obama a lot, but remember, I supported him because he was black. I can attack his positions all I want.
3) And Trump ...
Since Donald Trump put in his bid for the presidency, Wilmore has followed his every move with crude criticism. After picking apart the GOP frontrunner's speech to AIPAC in March, which was read from a teleprompter, the host threw shade towards the media for being impressed by it. His commentary definitely triggers a laugh or two, but it also sheds light on how certain politicians are covered more positively or negatively than others. For example, Obama has been criticized in the past for using a teleprompter.
Are they shocked that Trump can read!? The bar is set so low for this Lilliputian-fisted ignorant orangesicle that they’re actually fawning over the fact that he can read a speech?
4) He's Not Your Ordinary Celebrity
When he first entered the entertainment industry, African-Americans were casted in roles that profited off of racial stereotypes. As opposed to seeking quick fame, Wilmore stayed true to himself and made his own path. He explained his decision to resist acting in an interview with Vulture.
At that point I knew Hollywood wasn’t going to find me. I needed to be able to control my own destiny. Being an actor was too flighty.
5) He's Not Afraid To Confront Racial Issues
Unfortunately, mass discrimination based on nationality and religion has become a central theme of certain candidate's platforms, making it more important than ever before to openly speak out against these dangerous trends. Following the Charleston mass shooting, Wilmore criticized outlets, such as Fox News, for denying the perpetuation of racism. Sometimes, such rebuttals are necessary, even during sensitive and tragic times.
I know you guys don’t want to admit that racial stuff isn’t going on, but how can there be any doubt when it came out of the gunman’s mouth? He told his victims, ‘I want to shoot black people.’ I think when he says black people, he means black people—and not Christians.
6) He's A Comedic Expert
Chances are, you grew up watching at least one show that Wilmore helped produce, direct, write, or create. His diverse array of projects indicates unique talent as well as the fact that no two comedies are alike. Over the years, he's been recognized for the work and has received a Peabody Award, an Emmy Award, and a Humanitas Prize.
7) His Political Commentary Goes Way Back
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore first aired on Jan 19, 2015, but he's been speaking about politics for nearly a decade. In 2006, Wilmore began making regular appearances on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show as the "Senior Black Correspondent" and spoke about both race and politics in the United States. And let's not forget — he's also interviewed Bernie Sanders on his show. On top of that, his 2011 speech at the annual Congressional Correspondents' Dinner probably prepared him well for the task at hand.
8) The Internet Thought He Attended The SOTU Address
According to Internet rumors, Wilmore must be friends with Michelle Obama because he was sitting behind her at Obama's SOTU Address in January 2016 ... Or so we thought. The host made certain to let everyone know the man was actually Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Now, he'll finally be able to say he's been in the presence of just about everyone in the White House.
9) His Success Story Should Inspire Everyone Who Watches
Wilmore dropped out of college for what he believed to be a more fitting, fulfilling career. It turns out, he was right to follow his gut instinct. Just last year, he continued defy the status quo by scoring his own show at age 52. For decades, the comedian has been able to maintain a fresh sense of humor and dynamism in his career. Now, let's see what he does next at the famed WHCD.