‘The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore’ Premiere: 5 of His Best ‘Daily Show …

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Nightly Show’ host Larry Wilmore: ‘I couldn’t have started the show at a better worse time’.

These aren’t the words you might expect to hear from the host of new late-night comedy show to describe his television program just days before the premier. The comedian and seasoned television producer makes his hosting debut Monday on Comedy Central with “The Nightly Show,” taking over Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report time slot.Seated at the head of the oblong table where he will preside over his new Comedy Central series, “The Nightly Show,” Larry Wilmore was moderating a vigorous, sometimes sincere, sometimes acerbic panel discussion about the attack on the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Right now, he’s what he calls “cable famous”: Many people already know him as the “senior black correspondent” from The Daily Show, and hardcore fans know his work as a TV writer (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, In Living Color), showrunner (Black-ish, The Bernie Mac Show), and actor (How I Met Your Mother, The Office).

Sally Kohn, who contributes to CNN and The Daily Beast, said that society reacted differently to mass shootings depending on who had committed them. “When white people commit crime in the United States,” she said, “nobody says, ‘Gosh, what’s wrong with white people?’ ” This debate, held last Tuesday night on a newly constructed set at a Midtown Manhattan studio, was a dry run not meant for broadcast. While Wilmore is a veteran of comedy and television — he cut his teeth as a writer, and later producer, for several popular ’90s comedies that focused on black families — he has only held small roles in front of the camera and avoided too much of the spotlight.

It was seen by an audience of Comedy Central executives and “Nightly Show” writers and producers, including Jon Stewart, anchor of “The Daily Show,” who sat in the front row. In fact, when I asked the show’s executive producer, Rory Albanese, whom I’ve known for years, if he would be comfortable if I wrote an article titled “the show that doesn’t care about laughs,” I thought he was going to hit me. It’s very… appropriate.”) But the whole thing makes him a little nervous. “I’m approaching that area where it’s like, ‘Yeah, I know that guy. I’d rather be scared by something somebody says.” Other panelists scheduled this month are actors John Leguizamo and Jon Lovett, newswoman Soledad O’Brien, New Yorker editor David Remnick, and writers Frank Rich and Ilyasah Shabazz (Malcolm X’s daughter).

So get to know your new favorite late-night personality with these 10 facts, and catch the first episode at 11:30 p.m., featuring Senator Cory Booker, rapper Talib Kweli and comedian Bill Burr as guests. These viewers will be watching for how this show distinguishes itself from its highly regarded predecessor, “The Colbert Report,” whose singularly arch M.C., Stephen Colbert, will succeed David Letterman at CBS in September. At 53, he’s got a resume and maturity that a 28-year-old joke slinger can’t match, and he’s planning a show that’s not afraid to mix the serious with the silly. “Better to have an authentic, interesting conversation and have the show be a little quieter than just setting up jokes that at the end of the day nobody cares about,” he said. “That, I’m not interested in. Wilmore said in an interview earlier that day. “What’s driving this is, we’re finding things out, we’re making discoveries.” Having known since May that Mr.

Wilmore said he wanted his show to look at “events in the world from the perspective of the underdog,” while being “provocative and absurd, all those things rolled into one.” This blueprint has yielded a show that at its outset will have one segment of Mr. That’s another reason I think Jon felt comfortable saying, you know, Larry’s got this.” Originally called “The Minority Report,” the program was designed to showcase underdogs, not simply racial minorities.

Interestingly, Wilmore told us before we started the discussion: “No jokes from your act, keep it a real conversation and the humor will flow organically from that.” Well, Wilmore was right. We did have a provocative conversation about issues from police brutality to anti-Muslim bigotry to Bill Cosby that was both very real and often very funny.

Wilmore hopes he and the viewers learn something. “I don’t always feel like I have to have a strong opinion about something,” he said. “Sometimes I’m agnostic about an issue and my whole thing is to try and get more information. I call myself a passionate centrist, which means half the time I disagree with myself.” “We’ll change on the air, as well,” he said. “A show like this has to adapt on the air. I’m being facetious, because I know there are a lot of people of color who like those kinds of things, but my other joke about black people is that we don’t have time for irony. And in 2008, the Comedy Central audience did not take to David Allen Grier’s “The Chocolate News” – a look at the news in a comedic way from the black point of view.

Wilmore and his staff brainstormed possible routines for the new show’s contributors: one for Shenaz Treasury, a reporter and Bollywood actress, about the sexual harassment she experienced online; another for Mike Yard, a stand-up comedian, who would explain that he had gone so far off the electronic grid that he was performing only for Amish audiences. Albanese described Wilmore as “comedy Jedi.” Now, if I had not spent time on a test panel with Wilmore hosting, I could dismiss that claim as a producer puffery. Wilmore said it was exciting enough that a channel was giving this opportunity to someone who might otherwise be invisible — if not for his race, then for his age. You think about the past year, how it began with Donald Sterling, and then Ferguson, and Eric Garner, and… It was the best of times, it was the worst of times—and it clearly was the worst of times. I’m a fan of back porches!” I think there’s a big hole in late-night commentary that hasn’t been filled in a long time, and people want someone good to do it.

Politically, you call yourself a “passionate centrist.” Is comedy easier for centrists, because you have more options–you can skew right or left–instead of just approaching every joke from one party’s platform all the time? You’ve mentioned in other interviews that when you were growing up, the most prominent role for black comedians was “the fast-talking ex-con.” At the time, stand-up comedy was a little bit more raw, focused on sex and drugs. Wilmore, you’re going to have to cut your hair.” And I’d say, “Well, Father, technically, the rules say it can’t go down over your ears.” [Laughs] No, I didn’t think of it that way. And so he gave this speech and he walked out of the gym and I did this impression of him: [Wilmore takes on an Irish accent] “May I have your attention please?

My teacher said, “Larry, you should audition for that.” It was a show we wrote through improvisation with messages about drugs and stuff, and we toured it around to schools. So the kid comes over, looking for grape soda, and it’s like, “Oh, you would assume we had grape soda?” And the kid’s like, “Found it!” [Laughs] That’s very funny to me. There was one episode that Kenya wrote called “The Nod.” [Editor’s note: In the episode, “the nod” is half-jokingly described as “the internationally accepted yet unspoken sign of acknowledgement of black folks around the world.”] Some people just don’t know what that is, so you have to explain what that means.

In 2001, I sat down with my manager, and I said, “I want to really start branding myself.” And then later on, I said, “Now that I’m branded, I need a platform.” I don’t know if I make goals so much as throw something out there and start walking toward it.

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