×

Q&A: Larry Wilmore to Keep It ‘100% Real’ at White House Correspondents Dinner

Larry Wilmore, host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore,” will tap into his long history as a comedy writer and faux-journalist for his next gig: host of the White House Correspondents Assn.’s dinner April 30. The 54-year-old previously gained acclaim as the “senior black correspondent” on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and, before that, wrote for TV shows like “In Living Color” and “The Bernie Mac Show,” which he helped create.

How does one learn they are going to headline the White House Correspondents dinner?

There was kind of chatter about it. Then you get the word from your agent. Then you start screaming and calling everybody.

How high will this rate in your career?

If I do nothing else in my life, it’s, you know, ‘Your grandpa performed for the president once.’ Not even having my own TV show will mean anything because the grandkids will be like ‘What’s this ‘television’ thing you keep talking about? What is that?

Will there be a lot of pressure?

You have to follow the president [onstage]. That is more intimidating than performing for him. … He is the president, so people feel they are obliged to laugh, but then when he is funny on top of that, it’s very difficult. He really has gotten better, too. When he first started, I think he was a little stiff. But he kills the room now.

It hardly seems right that he got to be leader of the free world and got comedy chops.

It’s one of the biggest injustices of his administration.

You’re an African-American comic doing the last of these big dinners for the first African-American president. Will you bring that up?

I might get a little sappy, who knows. … But I will be keeping it 100% real. Or ‘keeping it 100,’ as we say on my show.

You attended the dinner last year. Does this audience like having its foibles exposed?

Believe it or not, they really like you to make fun of them on that stage. There is a lot of self-deprecation and sadomasochism happening there. … I’m just going to treat it with the respect — and the disrespect — that it requires.

Is there any message you would like to leave with President Obama?

I haven’t formed anything yet. I just hope the first black president isn’t the last one.

Click here for full coverage from Variety’s Hollywood and Politics issue.

More Biz

  • Herb Dorfman Obit Dead

    Herb Dorfman, Orion Pictures Home Video Executive, Dies at 77

    Herb Dorfman, former Orion Pictures executive and a home video industry veteran, died Feb. 25 of complications from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. He was 77. Dorfman served as head of home entertainment for Orion Pictures from 1987 to late 1996. Orion was a prosperous independent studio in those days that turned out a steady stream [...]

  • Editorial use only. Hand Out HANDOUT

    Big Hit, Home to BTS, Eyes $5B Valuation in IPO Bid; Will Coronavirus Stall the Plan?

    South Korea’s Big Hit Entertainment, home to global K-pop sensations BTS, is moving toward an IPO and recently selected underwriters. Sources in the investment banking industry say JP Morgan, NH Investment & Securities, and Korea Investment & Securities were chosen as main managers early this week, while Mirae Asset Daewoo is also on board as a joint manager. [...]

  • Bob Chapek

    What Disney's Theme Parks Reveal About New CEO Bob Chapek

    Theme parks and resorts aren’t likely top of mind for the industry set when they think of Disney. But in light of the recent (and very swift) appointment of parks and consumer products head Bob Chapek to succeed Bob Iger as Disney CEO, Chapek’s recent interviews at the parks offer a few insights about the [...]

  • Justin Dini Josh Line

    ViacomCBS Promotes Josh Line and Justin Dini in Communications and Marketing

    ViacomCBS has named Comedy Central veteran Josh Line to serve as executive VP and chief brand officer for the newly enlarged company. Line will oversee all marketing strategies for the company with an emphasis on synergy efforts across a collection of brands that range from MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central to Paramount Pictures, CBS [...]

  • Lizzo Grammys performance

    Lizzo Hit With Copyright Suit Over 'Truth Hurts'

    Three songwriters filed a countersuit against Lizzo in federal court on Friday, alleging that they have been denied proper credit for writing her breakout hit, “Truth Hurts.” Lizzo sued the songwriters — brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, as well as Justin “Yves” Rothman — last October, seeking a determination that they did not deserve credit [...]

  • Marcie Allen

    Marcie Allen Confirms She’s in Talks to Sell MAC Presents

    Marcie Allen, founder and owner of the music experiential agency MAC Presents, confirmed to Variety that she is in talks to sell the company, which she launched in 2004. Over the years the agency has engineered partnerships between major artists and brands, including the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Keith Urban, Green Day, John Mayer and [...]

  • media stocks - wall-street

    Stock Markets Log Historic Losses Amid Coronavirus Selloff

    U.S. corporate giants are the teeth of another wild ride on Wall Street as investors brace for the end of a week of historic losses for the Dow and other major indices. The Dow was down 357 points, or 1.3%, at the close of trading Friday, after falling more than 1,000 points early on in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content