Myra Faye Turner, Writer
I’m sure you’ve heard by now about “comedian” Larry Wilmore’s White Correspondents Association Dinner debacle. The Nightly Show host rounded out the evening with an excruciatingly long 20-minute, racially laced diatribe, ultimately ending his set by referring to President Obama an “my nigga”.
Although many have said that Wilmore’s use of the term was endearing and not offensive. I beg to differ. I feel it was, not only offensive, but disrespectful and as Al Sharpton said, “in bad taste.”
Even if we remove the last statement, Wilmore entire set was cringe worthy. I just rewatched it and my initial impression hasn’t wavered—he’s not funny. He set the tone for the night with his “negro night” joke and then proceeded to drone on in his nasally, slow-cadenced voice. His over emphasis on blackness, I thought was a bit much. Wait, scratch that, I don’t mind racial jokes per se—but damn it, I need the jokes to be funny.
As the cameras panned the crowd, to me most looked bored. Wilmore’s jokes received lukewarm reception, groans and boos. Not to mention blank, awkward stares and nervous giggles. Wolf Blitzer was looking all kinds of pissed off. You know under his breath he was probably calling Wilmore the N-word—and not the one meant as a term of endearment. Don Lemon giving him the finger was the best part of the entire tirade.
From Bill Clinton stripper jokes to Bernie Sanders old folk jokes, this guy sucked big time. Add to that his Ted Cruz Zodiac Killer set, well, it wasn’t my cup of tea.
He should have sensed that he was bombing. Didn’t he have a backup set of jokes he could have whipped out?
Now I read that he says his jokes “didn’t fit the room.” Duh! As far as his controversial final remarks, he says he doesn’t know if he would take it back if he had to replay the scenario.
My problem with Wilmore’s statement is two-fold. First, let’s say a white comedian or speaker had said it. Mind you, with the same perceived terms of endearment. Would the people who are supporting Wilmore have a problem with it? I don’t think so. People would be up in arms. But, you can’t have it both ways. If you expect white people to respect the president, you can disrespect him in a public forum.
Second, let’s keep it “100”, Wilmore and President Obama aren’t homeboys hanging on the block. In that situation, okay maybe it would be okay. If he whispered it in the president’s ear when he was finished with his set, okay, that’s cool. But for me personally, I thought it was unprofessional, disrespectful and certainly the wrong forum to make that statement. And it’s not just because of the sea of white faces watching from within the room and from the comfort of their own homes. I would feel the same way if the crowd was largely black.
guess my main issue is his lack of respect and the fact that they don’t have the type of relationship that warrants throwing around nigga the way Wilmore did. Just because you’re black does not give you the right to get comfy with me. I would get highly offended if some random black person called me their nigga. Nigga please, you don’t know me like that.