Veteran TV Writer Moves in Front of the Camera

'Do You Understand How Rap Works?'

But Wilmore saves his greatest firepower for the n-word, especially recent attempts to ban it, as seen in a memorable encounter with fellow "Daily Show" correspondent John Oliver and New York City councilman Leroy Comrie in March.

Oliver: Leroy, are you at all concerned that we're banning one of the most versatile words in the English language. It can be used as a noun:
Wilmore: Yo, yo what's up my n---er.
Oliver: A verb.
Wilmore: Hey, man, don't n---er those potato chips.
Oliver: An adjective.
Wilmore: Oh, so now you're n---er rich.
Oliver: An adverb.
Wilmore: Man, that's some n---erly sh--.
Oliver: Would you say goodbye to all of this?
Comrie: I think all of those usages are vile and just need to be stopped.

Oliver: What do you say to rappers who need that word in terms of their rhyme scheme?
Comrie: Need the word? I don't think you need the word.
Wilmore: I'm not sure about that, Leroy. Finish this phrase: 'I'm not sayin' she's a gold digger, but she ain't messin' with no broke --.'"
Comrie: Um … I'm not sayin' she's a gold digger, but she ain't messin' with no broke … fool.
Wilmore: Do you understand how rap works, councilman?

Seriously Funny

Recalling that show, Wilmore said, "Oh, we tortured him. It was fantastic. And just saying it to him would make him flinch.

"The actual satirical point was if you tell kids not do something, you know, they're always going to do the opposite," Wilmore said. "So, if you tell kids, 'Hey, you can't say the n-word,' all day long, they're just going to want to say [it], because they're kids. They want to rebel."

When asked if he himself uses the word, Wilmore said, "Not really. I mean, I use it for humor, you know, in that way. Blacks have a different relationship with that word … if we use it, it's in a different context than if someone just comes up and says, 'Hey, n---er' … So it doesn't mean the same thing that it does if I'm using it satirically. I'm making a point if I'm using it like that."

His humor touches on serious issues, but Larry Wilmore is clearly having the time of his life after a long career of toiling behind the scenes. And not even his interviewer was spared.

"I'm sure there'll be Martin's voiceover over this," Wilmore said, and then launched into his imitation. "As Wilmore goes through the Hollywood rituals of putting the fake on top of the real, appropriate for a fake news show, I decided to go through his wallet … and you wouldn't believe what I found."

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