Did Larry Wilmore Bomb at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner?
If you think about it, a black man making white politicians and reporters extremely uncomfortable is a fitting way to honor Barack Obama’s presidency.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner aka “Nerd Prom” was last night, and if you don’t pay attention to politics, this is a yearly event where the president hosts a dinner with media personalities and reporters, as well as a handful of celebrities. Traditionally the president does his own standup routine making fun of the media and his opponents, followed by a well-known comedian roasting the president, the media and Washington D.C. in general.
This year’s comedian was “The Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore, who replaced Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central — and let’s just say he got a mixed reaction.
“Welcome to Negro Night here… or as Fox News will report, ‘Two thugs disrupt elegant dinner in D.C.’,” he began — and he was just getting warmed up.
Wilmore certainly took his shots at President Obama sitting two seats to his right. “I saw you hanging out with NBA players like Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors,” he said to Obama. “That was cool. You know, it kind of makes sense too, because both of you like raining down bombs on people from long distances.”
But he saved his harshest burns for the mainstream media. While performing to an audience of reporters and cable news personalities.
“A little bit about me: I am a black man who replaced a white man who pretended to be a TV newscaster,” he said. “So yeah, in that way, Lester Holt and I have a lot in common.” (Lester Holt replaced Brian Williams on NBC after Williams made dubious claims about his time covering the Iraq War.)
“Speaking of drones, how is Wolf Blitzer still on television?” he said later. “Ask a follow-up question! Hey Wolf, I’m ready to project tonight’s winner: Anyone that isn’t watching ‘The Situation Room.’”
And Wilmore confirmed he had no fucks to give when he ended his speech with the N-word. “Yo Barry, you did it my n***a!”
Watching the video, it’s pretty clear that a lot of the audience wasn’t exactly into it. They were either silent or grumbling in annoyance and even booing at his harsher jokes. CNN’s Don Lemon gave him the finger at one point.
But the reaction from Twitter, especially from black viewers, was a lot different.
As many people are pointing out today, Wilmore’s predecessor Stephen Colbert had a very similar reaction when he hosted the WHCD and gave a scathing monologue about President Bush and the Iraq War: people in the room were uncomfortable and offended, while people watching from home were cheering and still gleefully remember that performance to this day.
So who knows — in a few years we may be looking back on Wilmore’s performance as a cultural turning point.