It’s hard to imagine Comedy Central whiffing on the replacement for The Colbert Report any worse than it has with The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, which can best be described as cable-access TV with a budget.
Wilmore, like Stephen Colbert, who is taking over the late show slot on CBS when David Letterman retires later this year, like John Oliver, over on HBO, is a graduate of The Daily Show, where he excelled as a fake-news reporter and desk guest.
Moving over one chair is proving to be difficult, though it’s not entirely Wilmore’s fault. The premise for the show is just plain lazy: Wilmore opens with a brief, unscripted monologue that comes off like any garden-variety podcast, then shifts, Real Time with Bill Maher-like, to a panel discussion, which, unbelievably, is the rest of the show.
Yes, that’s it: an unscripted monologue and an unscripted panel discussion. So actually, referring to this as cable-access TV with a budget might be inaccurate, because there doesn’t appear to be a budget.
This is basically late-night cable news, Comedy Central’s answer to Fox News’ The Five, and no, that isn’t a compliment.
The show is only three episodes in, so there is room for hope that things can get better, but really, the only way it can get better is to go off the air, have the production team go back to the drawing board, and come up with an entirely different, and actually entertaining, format.
Assuming that a lot of time and effort, unproductive though it all was, has already been expended on this clinker, it’s probably best to look forward to the return of @midnight to the 11:30 p.m. time slot.
– Review by Chris Graham