Welcome, Larry Wilmore! On Jan. 19, there was a major addition to the late night talk show landscape. ‘The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore’ premiered on Comedy Central, and the new talk show– and its host– certainly made a splash!
The news that Stephen Colbert would be taking over for David Letterman at the Late Show was both thrilling and depressing, as it meant we had to say good bye to The Colbert Report. Colbert certainly had set major expectations for his successor to live up to, so, how did Larry Wilmore measure up in his initial outing as host?
The Nightly Show Premieres: Larry Wilmore Replaces Colbert
As we previously reported, new talk show host Larry Wilmore was a bit nervous about hosting his own late night show, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. The show premiered on Jan. 19, and if this first episode is any indication of what’s to come, Larry doesn’t have too much to worry about.
“The Oscar nominees came out and they’re so white a grand jury has decided not to indict them,” said Larry in the very first joke he would make on his new show, setting the tone for what might be the most race driven late night show on television currently. As Larry said himself, “a brother finally gets a show on late night TV!”
The fact that the show premiered on Martin Luther King Day made the racial issues which Larry discussed all the more prescient but, as Larry had promised, he never skimped on the funny even when the subject matter was serious.
After a monologue, the show shifted to a roundtable featuring both New Jersey senator Cory Booker and Talib Kweli. This discussion, too, did not veer from the race issues currently facing the U.S., particularly the riots which have surged through the country.
“[African Americans] are in a relationship with the police– let’s be clear about that,” said Larry. Cory agreed but added that, “we’ve gotta get into a conversation that’s leading with love,” he said to repturous audience cheers.
To wrap things up, Larry closed with a segment called “Keep it 100” which, as Larry clarified, means keep it 100 % real. He asked questions ranging from what race would you choose for your child, to whether hip hop harms or hurts the black community to–this one for Cory– do you want to be president?
Finally, Larry said he himself would also keep it 100 each night and take a question from Twitter. Tonight’s? What’s the last racist thought Larry had?
“Does that white woman think I’m gonna steal her purse?” Larry admitted.
Now that’s how you make a splash in your first outing as host!
Late Night Continues To Shift
The premiere of The Nightly Show is just one in a series of changes in the late night talk show scene that have been unfolding over the last two years.
The big changes started to take place when it was announced that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno (this, of course, followed the massive dispute between Conan O’Brien and Jay over Tonight a few years prior, but that’s a story for another time).
Coinciding with Jimmy’s new gig, SNL head writer Seth Meyers was tapped to step in as Late Night host.
Over at CBS, longtime Late Show host David Letterman announced in April of last year that he would step down from the post, making way for Stephen Colbert to take over.
The Colbert decision came as somewhat of a surprise, considering that Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson was an obvious choice. However, the funny man also opted to retire himself, and it was announced that somewhat unknown James Corden would replace Craig.
Finally, back to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart will continue to anchor the 11 p.m. slot with The Daily Show, while Larry and the just-premiered Nightly Show will fill the 11:30.
Did you watch the premiere of The Nightly Show? What did you think of Larry?
— Casey Mink