News of the cancellation of Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show probably didn’t shock you. But it definitely has us feeling some type of way. Not only was Larry Wilmore‘s breakout an important moment for late-night news satire (pre-dating the announcement of Trevor Noah‘s Daily Show takeover by months) but a necessary vessel for illuminating issues and voices that may have otherwise gone unreported or overlooked to appease programmers with less-than-benevolent motives at heart.
Wilmore, an accomplished comedy writer with a resumé that boasts gamechanging credits like In Living Color, The PJs, The Bernie Mac Show, as well as contributions to The Office and The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, has never shied away from speaking truth to the illusion of power. The Nightly Show, following a heroic run as the original Daily Show black correspondent, seemed like a logical progression; a place where Wilmore could be the star and the muscle. The Shinobi-sharp black voice America wanted and needed.
And while ratings might suggest otherwise, The Nightly Show was stacked in the hit department. Where else could 2 Chainz and DJ Khaled display as much political savvy as your Wolf Blitzers and Bill O’Reillys (neither of which are actual “pundits” by any measure, but that only proves the point.) What other late-night slot could be equally fitting for Cam’ron‘s snitching discertation and the painfully proportionate up-tick in Philly’s strip club traffic during the Democratic National Convention. I mean Neil deGrasse Tyson dropped a fucking mic on a flat-earth theorist. Come on, man.
To keep this from sounding like anything close to an obituary, we know he’ll find his next gig. The one that cements him as a voice of tomorrow and continues to build on a rare legacy of excellence in a field dominated by middle-aged white men. So, before we wish him farewell tonight — let’s remember the criminally-unsung brilliance of the man, the myth the eternal keeper of 100, Larry-motherfucking-Wilmore, and his ne’er forgotten Nightly Show.
Here are its greatest hits, in no sequential order.
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