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Comedian Larry Wilmore on why it’s hard to make fun of Donald Trump

Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks during the White House Correspondent’s Association annual dinner on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, D.C.
Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks during the White House Correspondent’s Association annual dinner on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, D.C. TNS

Comedian Larry Wilmore doesn’t think it’s easy writing jokes about President Donald Trump.

Many see Trump’s outsized character, boisterous rhetoric and innate ability to stir up trouble on Twitter as comedic gold, but Wilmore said that’s what makes it difficult to write jokes about the president.

“The low-hanging fruit isn’t necessarily interesting,” Wilmore said. “Because everybody is making that joke.”

In this week’s episode of Majority Minority, the former host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” discusses his new podcast Black on the Air, his journey into political comedy and how Trump has changed late night, providing so much of the content of today’s comedy.

Wilmore is perhaps best known as the “Senior Black Correspondent” on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, having created the character to make fun of the lack of diversity on TV. But he’s really a TV veteran in front of and behind the camera, having hosted his own Showtime special, “Larry Wilmore’s Race, Religion & Sex,” and writing for a long line of shows, from “In Living Color” to “The Office” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” He also served as creator, writer, and executive producer of “The Bernie Mac Show.”

He shook up Washington for weeks in 2016 with his provocative monologue at the White House correspondents’ dinner, welcoming guests to “Negro night” and praised then-President Barack Obama for achieving what Wilmore once thought inconceivable for an African American.

“So, Mr. President,” he said, “if I'm going to keep it one hundred: Yo, Barry, you did it, my nigga.”

Many people thought he went too far, but Wilmore said Obama got it. Wilmore praised the former president for remaining graceful during the controversy and defending him in the press.

When the Nightly Show ended last year, it immediately sparked a conversation about the lack of diversity on comedy shows. Some accused Wilmore of being too cerebral. Others questioned whether the subject matter was simply too serious for an evening comedy show.

On his last show, Wilmore joked that the end meant “only one thing: Racism is solved. We did it.”

“The Nightly Show tackled race issues head-on – and that may have been too racial for some people,” Wilmore told McClatchy’s Majority Minority podcast.

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