Larry Wilmore has every reason to be nervous. Replacing a pop culture phenomenon like The Colbert Report with his own The Nightly Show – a concept that mixes The Daily Show‘s pithy commentary with lively panel discussions – is all kinds of scary. But the comedian turned sitcom writer turned host realizes panic attacks are a big waste of time. “What am I gonna do?” asks the Los Angeles-born Wilmore, 53, who’s married with two teenagers. “I agreed to it. I can’t back out now!” Nor would he want to. Despite having found huge success behind the scenes as creator and producer of The Bernie Mac Show and more recently as the executive producer/showrunner for the ABC hit black-ish, Wilmore has long dreamed of having his own platform. “One of the first reasons I started writing for TV was so I could develop a show for myself,” he admits. Though giving up black-ish will be tough (“Who doesn’t want to work with Laurence Fishburne?”), Wilmore’s in his element. “Colbert and I are both doing similar things. He’s following the legend David Letterman, and I’m following the legend Stephen Colbert. We’ll both have our challenges!”
Wilmore has appeared on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show as the “senior black correspondent” since 2006.