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5.09.2016

Larry Wilmore, N-word, what do you think?

I really like Larry Wilmore.  He seems like, well, just a real nice guy.  And the White House Correspondence Dinner performance made me like him even more.

In this interview with Terri Gross, Wilmore talks about this decision to use the n-word, and admits that he knew from the start that he was making a big risk.  He also says that he had to tone down many of the jokes he'd prepared as the atmosphere in the room wasn't receptive; for example his Wolf Blitzer roast joke did not seem to make Wolf very happy!  

I just love that--that Wilmore went into this live high profile performance, in front of millions, and told a joke that he knew was edgy and that might not fly.  
In this quote he points out that in comedy--in the context of an artistic expression--he's operating in a different realm and so the staid rules don't necessarily apply.  Here's what he says about using the word 'nigga';

Well it was an artistic expression.  It wasn't a state dinner, you know, where it was a policy speech or something.  I was a comedian in a roast doing comedy.  And yes, it was meant to provoke.   

Here's his full comedy set--worth listening to, imo.  Too bad people weren't more receptive to being roasted, the audience seemed a bit humorless.

See, I'm totally on Wilmore's side here!  The 'bad word' is at the very end......


The one objection that I have to his saying "Yo Barry, you did it my nigga!" is that it betrayed a kind of moral narcissism, or at the very least a moral heavy handedness that can be tiresome in a speech that's purely intended to be comical.  Since, as Wilmore says, he used the word/phrase with the deliberate intent to provoke and incite discussion.  I sort of wish he'd stuck to lighter comedy and left the racial fracas out of it.  



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