Ok, I’m not going to cry, but I’m going to hate to see The Nightly Show come to an end. I wonder if Larry Wilmore was ahead of his time or behind the times. Either way, this ain’t the time for a black man to host a comedy news show, not matter how good it is.
With less than a half-million viewers a night, Comedy Central requires at least twice as many viewers to consider keeping their shows on the air. Before Jon Stewart quit The Daily Show, his viewers hung around to watch The Nightly Show giving Wilmore strong numbers. Now that Trevor Noah leads The Daily Show, Wilmore’s numbers have sunk.
The crazy thing is The Daily Show numbers with Trevor Noah are in the toilet, too. If Comedy Central sticks to their guns, they’re probably trying to determine the right time to get rid of The Daily Show.
It was an interesting gamble by Comedy Central to put back to back black comedy news shows on late night TV. BET won’t do it. TV One won’t do it. Oprah won’t do it. I wonder why Comedy Central thought they could get away with it.
No matter how good they are, chances were better than great that Noah and Wilmore wouldn’t attract a white audience. These two aren’t Dave Chappell or Key & Pelle who deliberately appeal to all audiences. Noah and Wilmore keep their focus on bringing real news from a black perspective. Despite the humor, the realness is likely too much for a white viewer to lock into.
But the real issue with the cancellation of Larry Wilmore is that the black audience never locked into his show. Maybe Comedy Central thought they’d be the network to invent black comedy news shows, but they underestimated the appeal of such shows to blacks if they expected over a million viewers a night.
Kudos to Comedy Central for going out on a limb by bringing Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore to the air. I’m going to miss Larry Wilmore and his talented cast of comics.
If nothing else, Larry Wilmore introduced the world to the best 2016 presidential campaign slogan of all time… “The UnBlackening of the White House.”
If I could tell Larry Wilmore what I think of his journey as the head of The Nightly Show, I’d steal the words he told President Obama at the Correspondence Dinner…
‘You did it my nigga!’
Here’s a great article from The Daily Beast that spells out how Larry Wilmore really feels about being canceled