“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” has found its rhythm since its strong premiere on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2015 as the replacement to “The Colbert Report.” The beginning segment is hilarious, insightful and spot-on, continuing to be the strongest part of the show, while the main segment of the show, the panel, is messy.
The panel, consisting of four guests moderated by host Larry Wilmore, brings experts from different fields, such as politics, medicine, journalism and comedy, into conversation with each other to examine the night’s topic. Unfortunately, Wilmore must often interrupt guests to ensure that others get the chance to speak, depriving audiences of a deeper understanding of the fascinating topic at hand.
If Wilmore does not interrupt them, the guests often interrupt each other. For example, much of the panel on U.S.-Cuba relations was just jumbled noise as John Leguizamo argued with María de la Soledad and Teresa O’Brien about whether or not Cubans approved of the U.S.-Cuban negotiations.
Some of the comedians do not seem very familiar with the night’s topic, so it might be forgivable. In fact, they only seem to have been invited to only provide witty one-liners and side comments, which detracts from the interesting conversation.
However, the panel segment has gotten better. Guests took turns speaking and refrained from interruptive and disrespectful side comments during the American Sniper panel, and the discussion during last Friday’s sports panel was organic and fun.
In the following segment, “Keeping It 100,” Wilmore asks each panelist a difficult question. If he or she answers honestly, Wilmore awards them a sticker that says “Keeping It 100.” If he or she does not, Wilmore gives them a tea bag because their answer is “weak T,” T standing for “truth.” With or without the patronizing awards, “Keeping It 100” is not unique enough to be a separate segment since it is too short and also relies on the show’s guests.
Even worse, panelists often fail or are denied the chance to explain their answer. Sometimes, Wilmore actively prevents guests from explaining their answers, as he did to comedian Sherrod Small during the sports episode last Friday when Small said that he did not think the Redskins’ name was racist. Although the show’s panel is not the strongest in regards to content and humor, other strengths such as the opening segment prove that “The Nightly Show” is here to stay.