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Larry Wilmore wasted no time addressing the big elephant in the room on Monday’s Nightly Show.
“So, how was your day?” he asked to a laughing audience before explaining, “As many of you have probably heard, this is our final week of The Nightly Show.”
After pausing for the boos, Wilmore thanked Comedy Central, the staff and the fans, whom he called the “best” in all of late-night TV.
“When we started the show, we wanted to have a conversation of some very tough subjects,” he said about the half-hour late night panel. “Our show was at its best when the news was at its worst. I’m just proud we were able to take on such issues [and make some people laugh] during some very dark days.”
He continued, “My only regret is we won’t be around to cover this truly insane election season. Though, on the plus side, our show going off the air has to mean one thing: Racism is solved. We did it.”
Comedy Central announced the cancelation of The Nightly Show earlier on Monday. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t connected with our audience in ways that we need it to,” network president Kent Alterman told The Hollywood Reporter. The series, which has aired for two seasons, averages a night-of rating of 0.2 in the 18-49 demo.
As Wilmore continued on with Monday’s show, he remarked fondly on many of the show’s segments, including the “final pointless episode” of “Pardon the Integration.”
The topic up for debate was sparked by Wilmore’s widely criticized use of the N-word during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, with Mike Yard and Rory Albanese taking turns to argue both the anti and pro N-word sides. When talk turned to police brutality and Black Lives Matter, Albanese said to loud cheers, “I wish there was a late-night comedy show that dealt with things like this.”
The decision to end Wilmore’s show comes a year and a half after its launch as a forum for underrepresented points of view.
“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, and our fans to have had this opportunity,” Wilmore told THR in a statement on Monday. “But I’m also saddened and surprised we won’t be covering this crazy election or ‘The Unblackening’ as we’ve coined it. And keeping it 100 [a reference to his mantra], I guess I hadn’t counted on ‘The Unblackening’ happening to my time slot as well.”
Wilmore, who is also an executive producer on ABC’s Black-ish, began at the Viacom-owned network in 2006 as the “Senior Black Correspondent” on The Daily Show, then hosted by Stephen Colbert.
The last episode of Nightly Show will air on Thursday, with Chris Hardwick’s game show @Midnight sliding into the 11:30 p.m. slot as a temporary replacement.
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