The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore is a spin-off of The Daily Show, which featured Wilmore as a recurring contributor billed as the “Senior Black Correspondent”. It premiered on January 19, 2015 on Comedy Central, and airs Mondays through Thursdays at 11:30 PM (EST) following The Daily Show. It serves as a replacement for The Colbert Report, which aired in the same time-slot from October 2005 until December 2014. The show has been described as a combination of The Daily Show and Politically Incorrect. Each episode begins with Wilmore’s scripted take on the news followed by skits related to the most controversial topic of the night, then in the 3rd segment, a panel discussion with his guests, 2 of which are show writers and/or show "reporters," and the third seated always on Larry's left, a guest from the entertainment world.
The Nightly Show was slightly different than the Daily Show and more geared for examining serious topics not unlike a more condensed version of Real Time With Bill Maher and/or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, a show often compared to VICE News with a dash of snark.
Larry Wilmore is an intelligent comic who has a unique take on the world, especially in relation to how the vulnerable have been treated, notably the divide between the races in the United States. He raised awareness of the Flint Water Crisis and has never been afraid to take on the oppressors, whether it be the governor of Michigan or especially pundits like Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly, two of the most famously racist in the cable news universe.
Wilmore raised eyebrows in some of his rather brutally honest comments at the White Correspondence Dinner, president Obama's last such event in which the comic was invited to headline. He did not disappoint, and certainly made headlines with an ending tribute to the president that some regarded as controversial because of his use of the N word in relation to Obama.
Fans were hoping Wilmore's appearance and headline making comedy set at the Correspondents Dinner would have boosted the show's cume, but according to Comedy Central, the ratings have not been to their liking, and pulled the plug on the groundbreaking news satire show abruptly this summer, it's final episode airing Thursday, August 18.
In this writer's opinion, The Nightly Show gained a strong following and examined subjects often ignored by the corporate, white-skewed news and entertainment sector, which often relegates people of color away from topics regarded as sensitive, such as news and commentary, though comedic, of the racial divide in this country. Wilmore and his cast-mates may have both angered and frightened those in power at Comedy Central, as some have done notably on MSNBC, a network now dominated by the conservative Comcast Cable giant with rather controversial departures such as Melissa Harris-Perry and Ed Schultz among others. The network has relegated their remaining anchors of color out of prime-time and just on weekends. Joy Reid taking Melissa Harris Perry's 2 hour slot on Sat and Sun mornings and sparsely, Rev. Al Sharpton, their remaining more controversial figure for an hour near the break of dawn on Sundays where he can be a less controversial token.
The Nightly Show raised awareness of the income disparity among African Americans, famously in a sketch where cast-member and reporter Jordan Carlos learned the hard way what a food desert was, where 13 million people live too far from grocery stores providing organic and healthy food, noting that in Camden, NJ, one has to walk 5 miles to find a grocery store. Bodegas and convenience stores, which charge a substantial markup on much less nutritious foodstuffs, are the norm in many of what whites call "urban" areas. This reminds me of my time in Real Estate, where that term was used as code for blockbusting and warning white home buyers to avoid such neighborhoods when calling about housing in New Jersey.
At the very least, The Nightly Show deserves an Emmy for it's unique, brutally truthful take on racism, political corruption, income disparity, and especially the Flint Water Crisis. I believe the show was removed from Comedy Central not so much for ratings, but because it's politics upset the powers that be...and we all know Republicans dominate the ownership of these networks...and republicans are famously not on board with any of The Nightly Show's topics or their revelation of truth.
Larry's fellow cast-mates included some of comedy's best and brightest. Mike Yard is a veteran stand-up comic whose no holds barred style of humor often stole the show every time he appeared in many sketches. He's intelligent, with a degree in mathematics and a sardonic wit that is demonstrated well on his podcast, Yardtalk, heard weekly on Soundcloud. I predict he will have his own television show in the near future.
Robin Thede, Rory Albanese, Holly Walker, Jordan Carlos, Ricky Velez, Grace Parra and Franchesca Ramsey are all brilliant comics in their own right. Rory and Mike were famously featured in a recurring point-counterpoint sketch called Pardon The Integration where Larry and Rory would always make Mike the fall guy...on this week's final PTI, Mike had the last laugh.
These are some of the best talent in any comedy show and it is this writer's hope that they will find much success in the near future as they deserve to move up as they have given us so much.
Larry Wilmore and his fellow writers and castmates for nearly 2 years gave us a look at America that made us laugh and made us question why we still have not evolved as a society regarding race. They were an important voice that has been silenced...but hopefully not for long. Perhaps with the help of their fans, including me, that voice will rise again.