The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore is about race. It doesn’t shy away from it. Taking cues from his previous role as The Daily Show’s ‘Senior Black Correspondent,’ Wilmore tackles every major race issue of the day — ranging from the lack of diversity of the Oscar nominees to the protests in Ferguson.
While the show is funny and Wilmore is genuinely likeable, the show needs to make sure it doesn’t get to preachy. There’s only so many times Ferguson can be brought up before The Nightly Show will cross the line from news satire to real news hosted by a comedian.
The good news is that The Nightly Show hasn’t crossed that line, yet. Wilmore’s on fire. In the first episode, he points out the irony of giving a black man a show and forcing him to work on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as well as Al Sharpton’s uncanny ability to show up at every protest involving black people like he’s “black Batman.”
After the standard funny commentary on current issues, Wilmore sits down with a panel of four guests. On the first episode, the guests were Nightly Show contributor Shenaz Treasury, Senator Cory Booker, comedian/token white guy Bill Burr, and hip-hop artist and activist Talib Kweli. This part of the show is basically Meet the Press with a hint of humor because, unfortunately, asking real questions on important issues will only lead to funny answers from the most adept of comedians. There’s also no denying that Senator Booker has an agenda when he appears on these kind of shows.
It’s too early to make a call on whether or not The Nightly Show will continue to be so firmly The Daily Show with a focus on everything wrong with black-white relations in America. Right now, it works, but in order for the show to work those issues need to be addressed as part of a larger picture and not the entire story.
Rating 8 out of 10
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore airs Monday-Thursday at 11:30pm EST on Comedy Central
Allison Lips is the Founder of Wait! What’s a Dial?, a television blog that showcases the writing of millennials. Allison graduated from Rowan University in May 2013. She has a passion for TV history, especially late night and game shows. If she could go back in time, Steve Allen would still be hosting The Tonight Show. Follow her on Twitter @waitwaitsadial.