All eyes have been on Comedy Central since it was announced that Stephen Colbert would be leaving his post at The Colbert Report to take over the chair on The Late Show With David Letterman.
With the issue of diversity in the worlds of comedy and late-night television on everyone’s lips lately, many were eager to see who Comedy Central would appoint to its late-night time slot now that Stephen Colbert is headed to The Late Show. Curiosity was sated when it was announced that Larry Wilmore, The Daily Show’s “Senior Black Correspondent,” would take over the time slot with The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore.
Not many people know a lot about Wilmore, even though there’s a chance that he had a hand in some of your favorite television shows. Here are 11 things you don’t know about the man preparing to step into the limelight at Comedy Central.
1. He’s a college dropout.
Wilmore grew up in Los Angeles and studied theater at California State Polytechnic University Paloma before withdrawing to pursue a career in stand-up comedy and acting.
2. He’s served as The Daily Show’s Senior Black Correspondent since 2006.
3. He’s currently working with Issa Rae to develop a comedy series.
Rae’s web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, was a big hit. The series currently in the works will center on “the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern day African-American woman.”
4. He was a writer for the hit sketch comedy show In Living Color, penning a total 58 episodes from 1991-1993.
5. He has a younger brother, Marc, who is also an actor and comedian.
Marc was a writer for and member of the cast of In Living Color from 1993–2001. He’s also written, acted, and produced for The Simpsons.
6. He co-created The PJs with Eddie Murphy.
The PJs was a stop-motion animated show that debuted in 1999 and lasted for three seasons. It revolved around the lives of the tenants of a housing project in Detroit. The show was nominated for an Emmy award in 1999.
7. He also co-created and produced The Bernie Mac Show.
And he won an Emmy for writing the pilot episode.
8. AND he created and produced Whoopi Goldberg’s short-lived television series, Whoopi, which ran from 2003–2004.
9. He wrote for a metric ton of other super popular shows.
Are you a fan of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Jamie Foxx Show, or Sister, Sister? Then you are a fan of Larry Wilmore.
10. He was a consulting producer for the show The Office from 2003–2005.
He also guest starred as Mr. Brown during the hilarious “Diversity Day” episode.
11. He doesn’t just write for TV — he’s also a published author.
From the book’s description on Amazon: “Here, collected for the first time, all in one place, are his Black Thoughts.”
12. He’s been nominated for and won several awards for his work.
Wilmore has won a Peabody Award, an Emmy Award, and a Humanitas Prize; he was nominated for two other Emmys and three Writers Guild of America Awards.
The significance of his hiring is that he’s not just a brown face selected to appease an increasingly displeased flock of television viewers. Wilmore is wildly talented, experienced, and prepared, which stands in glaring opposition to the belief that qualified women or people of color are rare in the world of televised comedy. Wilmore’s history of smart commentary on race from your favorite back-in-the-day sitcoms to The Daily Show is the recipe for an amazing, smart show.