And you thought President Obama’s jokes were savage.
Larry Wilmore, host of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central, gave one of the more controversial post-presidential speeches at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in Washington DC last night. His jokes certainly didn’t hold back; the comedian grilled anyone from the journalists in the room to politicians to even Bill Cosby, and his attacks were brutal. Despite that, the biggest controversy of the night was not over any one joke, but rather whether or not Wilmore killed it or completely bombed.
His night began with a bang, at least. “Welcome to Negro Night here in Washington, or as Fox News will report, “Two thugs disrupt elegant dinner in DC.”
To which many in the audience laughed, but certainly not at the volume the President had just received for his humor preceding Wilmore.
If you asked the audience, they would probably tell you that Wilmore completely and utterly flopped. In all fairness, Wilmore did not read the room. His first notable attack on someone in his general proximity was on CNN’s popular anchor Wolf Blitzer.
“Speaking of drones,” says Wilmore. “How is Wolf Blitzer still on television? Ask a follow up question!”
The camera panned to find Blitzer in the audience, who had become as stony as a statue. Wilmore plowed on nonetheless.
“Hey Wolf, I’m ready to project tonight’s winner: anyone who isn’t watching The Situation Room.” In response, several journalists—likely, most from CNN—booed.
Much of Wilmore’s march against the correspondents in the room was reserved for CNN.
“Some of America’s finest black journalists are here tonight,” says Wilmore. “Don Lemon’s here too.” The camera flashed to Lemon, the CNN correspondent who became the topic of debate over his Ferguson coverage, flipped his middle finger Wilmore’s way.
No amount of negativity held Wilmore back. He had some words for several politicians to get off his chest.
“Hillary was flustered when a Black Lives Matter protester challenged her. I haven’t seen a white lady that upset over being blindsided by a black person since Kelly Ripa.” Wilmore, of course, was referring to Michael Strahan’s sudden departure from Live (that neither America, nor Ripa, saw coming) which only occurred a few days ago.
Wilmore laid his attacks on Republicans as well, most of all former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The comedian insulted anywhere from Christie’s over-support for Donald Trump (“He RVSPed [to the WHCD] for three: he, his wife, and Donald Trump’s dry-cleaning”) to his “weight loss,” which Wilmore attributed to Christie losing the pounds his dignity must have weighed.
Overall, while many of Wilmore’s jokes turned down the temperature in the room to sub-zero, he was on fire on Twitter. Many people online commented on Wilmore’s punchiness and his lack of caring that the journalists in the room were angry, leading some to even walk out.
I don't even like Larry Wilmore ….. But