It's been a month since Stephen Colbert's absence after The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, but tonight that chasm will be remedied by the premiere of The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore. Wilmore will be the only African-American host of a late night talk show, and he's well-equipped to take on the task. The 53-year old Wilmore has been killing it as The Daily Show's "Senior Black Correspondent," a title in the tradition of The Daily Show's mocking of daily news shows bringing in One Representative Minority as an authority on any race-related issues.
Wilmore's show won't be in the same style as Jon Stewart's, however; The Nightly Show is to be more closely related to Sunday politics shows like Meet The Press. Wilmore told NPR: "I look at it as, 'Who do I want in my barbershop talking s--- with? That's the big group of people we're collecting for the show." His first guests are stellar— New Jersey senator Cory Booker and rapper Talib Kweli. It's incredible and hopeful news that Wilmore is hosting his own show, not just because he's a pioneer as the only African-American late-night host on TV, but because his particular style of subverting and reporting on race issues was what carried him to notoriety as one of The Daily Show's best correspondents. (Fingers crossed that soon, Jessica Williams will follow as the next correspondent to fly the nest and get her own desk). Here's the best of the best of Wilmore's segments on the 78 Daily Show episodes he was on.
A Diverse Array of American Racism — 4/28/14
Larry Wilmore is gleeful in reporting on the shit-storm that ensued after Donald Sterling's secret racist comments to his mistress V. Stiviano were leaked. Jon asks Larry, "Why are race conversations so fraught right now?" And Wilmore reminds him that minorities are mad for the obvious reasons, but at the core of the rampant racism is fear: "Other than white people being crazy, it comes down to their fear that black people are gaining something at their expense." He also addresses the wildly inaccurate and bigoted stereotype that black people's only two options in life are between "picking up cotton and picking up welfare checks. The President is black, so f*ck you."
The Black Presidency — 5/16/13
In this segment, Wilmore riffs on the idea that now that there's a black president, peak progress has been made and we live in a post-racial America. "Has the Obama presidency opened the door to the Oval Office to other types we haven't seen as president before?," Jon asks. Wilmore concedes that sure, Obama's role as POTUS could lead to other minority presidents, but black presidents aren't done with the White House just yet. "You guys rocked it, and now that it's our turn, we want a run with the same diversity. We still need a war hero black president, an ex-movie star black president, a peanut farmer..."
Get Out the Fraud — 10/2/12
Wilmore chats with Jon about the flagrant injustice of the idea of voter fraud ahead of the 2012 election, which disenfranchised primarily black voters but also the elderly. "The laws are too indirect - you cant just make a law and HOPE it disproportionately affects black people, you have to make sure," he asserts. "Distrust, but verify." His advice to black voters? Perform... voter fraud. "I encourage black people to vote early, and often, and then vote again later."
American Hands Stand: Race-o-holics — 12/3/14
MLK Day — 1/15/07
In a segment eight years ago, Wilmore sends up the idea that black people should be heavily invested in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Hear him out: Jon tells him that MLK Day is about "recognizing [King's] legacy," to which Wilmore scoffs, "Oh, you're going to tell me how to celebrate MY holiday?"