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Saying Goodbye to ‘The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore’

August 19th, 2016 by Liz Brown

“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” is cancelled and, if I’m Keeping It 100, I have to admit that I’m truly heartbroken.

Last night marked the very last episode of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” Comedy Central’s slow burn entry into the Late Night wars that boldly went where other shows couldn’t (or wouldn’t). And if I’m ‘Keeping It 100,’ I have to admit that I’m truly heartbroken.

When “Nightly” kicked off back in January 2015, I was determined to hate it because of what it was replacing, “The Colbert Report.” I felt self-righteous and contemptuous as “The Nightly Show” got off to a rough start, but then something magical happened—in a March 2015 segment on Starbucks’ “Race Together” campaign that encouraged baristas to start conversations about race with customers, Wilmore wondered aloud what it would be like to have Dr. Cornel West serving me my extra skinny triple shot mocha—and they provided a photoshopped graphic:

And from that point on, I was “in”.

Over the past year and a half, Wilmore and his merry band of irreverent social commentators have examined hot button issues about race relations during one of the most tumultuous times to discuss the topic since the Civil Rights Movement. The show has been more than funny. It’s been really important. “The Nightly Show” has been unafraid to satirize the topics like Black Lives Matter, the Bill Cosby controversy, the Rachel Dolezal controversy, and the long suffering presidential race to replace Barack Obama in a series they’ve dubbed “The Unblackening.” To pull the plug on “The Nightly Show” just three months before one of the wildest elections in decades seems like a special brand of cruel and unusual punishment.

I know there’s nothing I can do to keep “The Nightly Show” on air. The best I can offer is a heartfelt eulogy to a show that offered an actual fresh perspective from the point of view of comedians of color, including (gasp) women of color. Anyone who’s spent time in the comedy world knows that women of color rarely have their voices heard, let alone featured on a national platform. In the past week, Wilmore has featured an all WOC panel discussion and a segment with WOC talking about menstruation. That’s probably not going to happen on any other show any time soon.

I’ll miss the “Soul Food Sitdowns,” the “Soul Daddy Celebrations,” and, most of all, the “Keep It 100” panel discussions. There’s nothing like watching Larry Wilmore ask his guests awkward questions and then calling them out on their attempts to talk their way out of a corner.

In honor of “The Nightly Show’s” untimely death, check out five amazing segments from the past season that prove Wilmore and his crew are leaving us far too soon:

Plantation Wedding Planning
“The Nightly Show” takes on the disturbing new trend of couples having their weddings at former plantations:

 

Stranded in a Food Desert
An examination of how hard it is to eat healthy in poor urban areas without access to a grocery store with fresh food:

 

Jack Daniels Slavery Roots
Correspondent Grace Parra talks about how the famous Tennessee whiskey blend was discovered by an African American slave:

 

Soul Daddy Joins the 21st Century
Larry Wilmore’s throwback character gets introduced to the joys of 21st American culture, including an African American President and paternity leave.

 

Confederate History Celebration
Um,…yeah. Larry has a few thoughts about Mississippi’s governor declaring April “Confederate History Month” even though it wasn’t exactly a great time for everybody…

 

 

RIP “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.” We hardly knew ye.

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