Larry Wilmore, The Daily Show‘s “Senior Black Correspondent,” will be getting a show of his very own. The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore will air during Stephen Colbert’s old timeslot when Colbert takes over for Letterman on The Late Show in 2015. According to Comedy Central, Minority Report, created by Jon Stewart, will aim to bring some much-needed non-white voices onto the late night scene: expect “a comedic look at news, current events and pop culture from unique perspectives not typically on display in late night television.”
For fans who’ve been watching Wilmore’s Daily Show work since he joined the cast in 2006 (he came on when Colbert left to launch The Colbert Report), it will be interesting to see how Wilmore expands on his TV persona when he’s the one carrying an entire show. He doesn’t have the wildly expressive face and octave-leaping voice of Stewart, the manic, British-fish-out-of-the-pond-water energy of Oliver, or the deliberately throwback song-and-dance charm of Colbert. Wilmore’s delivery is more like a parent growing ever more exhausted with the ridiculous, irrational antics of his child: exasperation building on itself until, by the end of the bit, it explodes.
Wilmore has plenty of writing and production chops: he co-created The PJs alongside Eddie Murphy and The Bernie Mac Show, and he’s written for In Living Color, The Jamie Foxx Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. co-created the Bernie Mac Show and The PJs. He was also a consulting producer on The Office (yes, he’s the guy from “Diversity Day“). His book, I’d Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts, was released in 2009, and he was showrunner and executive producer of Black-ish, a new ABC sitcom that just got picked up to series. Despite the all this comedy cred, Wilmore told The New York Times he wasn’t expecting to get a gig like this. “I really thought the window was closed… And usually there’s a certain age you have to be.” Wilmore, 52, is three years older than Stephen Colbert and only one year older than Jon Stewart (though of course they were all much younger when they first sat down at the desks they hold now.) For a more telling contrast, John Oliver, host of the just-premiered Last Week Tonight With John Oliver on HBO, is only 37 years old.
Not up to speed on Wilmore? Catch up with some of his best Daily Show bits below.
“A Diverse Array of American Racism”
“Holy shit, Jon! What a week to be Senior Black Correspondent.” Oh yes, this was quite the banner week for prejudice: Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, a real one-two punch of white people who think it’s still okay to say “Negro.” Wilmore rose (sank?) to the occasion, ripping both of these guys apart while providing a very useful list of “things black people are mad about” including “stop and frisk, uneqeual opportunities, voter suppression, unfair sentencing laws, Trayvon Martin, stealing our music, diabetes.”
“A Conversation on Race”
After President Obama’s speech in response to Trayvon Martin’s killing, interim host John Oliver and Wilmore attempt to have a not-racist conversation about race. Oliver suggests relying on numbers instead of words because “numbers aren’t racist.” Wilmore’s reply: “Poll numbers might not be racist. Fractions are. Three-fifths, John.”
Should Lincoln have just let slavery die a natural death? “Jon, the South was so committed to slavery, Lincoln didn’t die of natural causes.”
In the aftermath of the Barney’s racial profiling scandal and Jay Z’s refusal to cancel his partnership with the store: “Jay Z doesn’t care about black people… Shop and frisk is what the media calls it, Jon. Brothers just call it shopping. And America, you can’t tell brothers to pull up their pants and then arrest us when we try to buy a belt.”
Worth a watch just for Wilmore’s Elmer Fudd impression.