Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Un-Blackening

I was so disappointed to learn today that Comedy Central is cancelling The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.  His final show will be this Thursday.

The network's spokesperson said the program was not "resonating" with viewers.  Resonating?  Maybe it was resonating too much blackness.

In the past year or so, Comedy Central lost their two mainstays, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  These two ground-breakers reinvented late-night TV with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.  Their shows were topical, news-based combinations of political satire and media critique.  And they were hilarious.  Replacing both of them more or less simultaneously was a tall order, sort of like replacing Vince Lombardi and John Wooden at the same time.  Following the legend is tough duty.

Relative newbie Trevor Noah took over The Daily Show, and the Colbert slot was renamed The Nightly Show and given to Wilmore, veteran comic and the "Senior Black Correspondent" on Stewart's Daily Show. 

Both Noah and Wilmore are good, but I thought Wilmore's Nightly Show was the better of the two.  He found his voice and his approach immediately -- an opening monologue on current events, a skit from his mostly black and Hispanic ensemble of comics, a table discussion including the guest celebrity, and the Keep It One-Hundred closing.

His instant classics were his ongoing bits on "The Un-Blackening" and "Black-lash 2016", about the end of the Obama era and all the ensuing weird racism in the current political season.  His Trump impersonator Bob DiBuono was the absolute best.  And Larry himself was talented enough to be tapped as the MC of this year's White House Correspondents Dinner, where he praised President Obama by saying, "You did it, my nigga!"

Bottom line, Larry Wilmore was probably a bit too race-focused for the corporate Caucasians at Comedy Central.  But I thought, given all that has gone on recently, his focus was spot-on, not to mention really funny.  They won't find better.

Comedy Central is doing their own un-blackening, and it's a big mistake.      

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