Unsurprisingly, Wilmore did indeed note the outstanding irony of his show debuting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated January 20, 2015 02:30 PM
Advertisement
Stephen Lovekin/Getty

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore premiered Monday, and despite taking over from Stephen Colbert‘s Colbert Report timeslot, Wilmore simply plays himself – or a more exhausted-by-it-all version thereof.

It’s hard to blame him, really.

Originally titled The Minority Report, the satirical news show is more similar to Jon Stewart‘s Daily Show, but with a focus on issues important to people of color – a debut that’s especially prescient in light of Ferguson and the Eric Garner case.

Now may be the perfect time for a show like Wilmore’s, where people of color are given a mainstream venue to air their grievances.

Like The Daily Show, all of the satire is laced with a biting truth. White people dominated the Oscars? Obviously. Protests are only effective when they’re about the real issues, like Harry Potter chocolate? Double obviously.

Watch the above clip for the most salient look at what you can expect from The Nightly Show, and read on for some of the best one-liners from the premiere.

On the Oscars

Wilmore opened his show with the Oscar nominations, telling viewers that a “very powerful motion picture” was denied accolades this year. The Lego Movie, naturally.

“In less shocking news,” said Wilmore, Selma was denied both Best Director and Best Actor noms, shutting out people of color from the Oscars entirely. “Oh, black people didn’t get nominated for an Oscar?” he questioned, yawning. “Yeah, I’m mad, I guess.”

On Protests

Wilmore also questioned the efficacy of black protests, hilariously calling out a demonstration that was underway at the time of taping at Grand Central Station in New York City, “Because there’s no better way to win the hearts and minds of white people than making them miss their train to Connecticut.”

Protests can work, said Wilmore, noting the climate-change protest in September, which led the U.S. and China to write up a climate-change accord in November. It was a good thing, he said, because “if we don’t figure this out, then it won’t just be black people saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’ ”

Another noteworthy protest from 2014? The one that prompted all chocolate sold with Harry Potter’s likeness to be fair trade. “After Ferguson and Garner, it bugs me a little bit that in 2014, this is the only chocolate that got justice.”

On Police Brutality

Wilmore ran a clip of an upset South Florida family who discovered that the North Miami Beach police were using photos of black men during weapons training. “That story was reported way back in … today. Okay? The police in Florida are literally using pictures of young black men as targets. How can we see that and be surprised when it happens in real life? I’m not surprised when Kobe hits a jumper – that dude practices.”

Each episode follows Wilmore’s take on the news, followed by a panel discussion – in the case of the premiere, it included musician/activist Talib Kweli, Indian model-actress Shenaz Treasurywala, New Jersey senator Cory Booker and comedian Bill Burr.

Before signing off, Wilmore thanked Colbert: “I would just like to say a special tip of the hat and a wag of the finger to my buddy Steve Colbert. Thanks for making 11:30 special, my friend. Godspeed and goodnightly.”

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore airs Mondays through Thursdays (11:30 p.m. ET) on Comedy Central.