The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore debuted on Monday night, officially replacing The Colbert Report, and yes the first episode went smoothly. It's black and good.
As The Daily Show's Senior Black Correspondent, Wilmore was frequently a warm, cynical presence. It was unlikely that he'd flop, but I wondered how exactly he would distinguish his show, formerly known as The Minority Report, from his alma mater. Last night's promising inaugural episode opened with an #OscarsSoWhite zinger. "The Oscar nominations are out and they're so white, a grand jury has decided not to indict them," said Wilmore.
Not surprisingly, the news segment is a close cousin of Jon Stewart's format, which gives Wilmore liberty to use his approachable, biting humor to attack minority-focused news. The main topic was Selma's non-shocking Oscar snub, which included light jabs at Rev. Al Sharpton's Academy Awards emergency meeting.
"Sharpton?! Again!?" said Wilmore. "I mean, no one else can represent? Al, Al, slow down, man! You don't have to respond to every black emergency You're not black Batman."
For the second half, the guest panelists— Senator Cory Booker, comedian Bill Burr, rapper Talib Kweli and Nightly Show contributor Shenaz Treasury—debated the relevance of the protests against police brutality in America. Wilmore told Booker, "You look very nice in the suit. Do you feel like you're just a hoodie away from being facedown in the pavement?" He also lightheartedly asked Burr to represent for his people: "Are white people tired of black protests? Speak up for all the white people, Bill!"
The best segment was the closer, "Keep It 100" (clip above), where Wilmore asked each of his guests to answer a question truthfully, encouraging the audience to react accordingly if the answer isn't 100!-100!-100! Wilmore asked Burr if he had to choose the race of his child, which he would pick (Burr said white). Does Cory Booker want to be president? Booker: "Uh, no." Wilmore threw a bag of "weak tea" at him for good measure. I will be tuning in.
Watch the full first episode here.