What We Learned From ‘The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore’

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore is almost gone, but not forgotten. If you were a fan of The Nightly Show you spent a lot of time laughing and learning. That should continue in the absence of Larry Wilmore and his show.

In case you have not heard, Comedy Central has officially pulled the plug (courtesy of Variety) on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore this past Monday.

Comedy Central president Kent Alterman spoke with Variety regarding the network’s decision to end The Nightly Show.

“We hold Larry in the highest esteem, personally and professionally. He brought a strong voice and point of view to the late-night landscape. Unfortunately it hasn’t resonated with our audience.

“We’ve been monitoring it closely as for a year and a half now and we haven’t seen the signs we need in ratings or in consumption on digital platforms. We’ve been been hoping it would grow.”

Once it was announced that Comedy Central was going to cancel the show, tons of people took to Twitter to offer their support to Wilmore and his contributors. Monday became a dark day for the comedic world — especially for fans of intelligent humor. Larry Wilmore himself said that Comedy Network never gave The Nightly Show a chance (courtesy of Salon).

Not having Larry Wilmore and company to laugh with while the election is entering its final lap is borderline criminal. As it was often put by The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, “The Unblackening” of America in terms of the political landscape was much of the reason fans had to tune in. The combination of humor which was at oftentimes simple dry wit and hilariously thoughtful jargon, with social awareness kept people interested.

What was being said and done to generate division was always revealed by Wilmore and his multi-talented contributors. They brought us up to speed on issues which primarily affected people in the inner-city. Little known stories were given some light and great detail. And it was all done with a laugh.

It was said that The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore did not resonate with the audience. We must be reminded that the Comedy Central viewers were used to years of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Both Stewart and Colbert are giants in the late night talk show realm. There was no way possible that Wilmore could succeed in filling those shoes. The important thing to remember about The Nightly Show is that Larry Wilmore wanted to create his own footprints.

Wilmore’s audience was vastly different from those who watched Stewart and Colbert. If you are a Black American, you felt proud to have someone who cared about the issues that primarily affected you. The Nightly Show always offered the other story. Unfortunately, not everyone understood, nor were interested in the other story. It did not matter if that story was told by a diverse cast.

Larry Wilmore was joined by Rory Albanese, Mike Yard, Robin Thede, Grace Parra, Jordan Carlos, Holly Walker, Ricky Velez, and most recently, Franchesca Ramsey. Their collective was a diverse mix. During a time when diversity is not often seen on television, having different voices on a political show was a gift which viewers may never get to experience again.

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore focused on the laughs just as much as the issues. People of color, all color had a place, a voice.

Larry Wilmore’s disdain for comedic legend, now infamous Bill Cosby was noteworthy. When most believed that Wilmore would give Cosby a pass because of his skin tone, they were surprised to witness the excoriating comments used. It was proof that the people of the The Nightly Show did not care who you were. If you did something inappropriate they were going to get you.

There was always a feeling that The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore was 30 minutes too short. The segments at times seemed rushed because of the lack of time. And once it was time for the round table discussion, one could not help but feel robbed. In those five minutes we got the best out of Wilmore, Yard, Albanese, Walker, Thede, Parra, Velez, Carlos and Ramsey.

Each person deserves to be mentioned by name, as they all brought different elements of understanding. That made for compelling talk. Soon as the conversation became the heaviest, it was time for everyone to depart. That left many of us wanting more time.

Well, time is now up for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. It is a sad thought. On a good note, each member of the show has blazed a big enough trail where we will want to see what they do next. That is a legacy which cannot be cancelled.

[Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]