Larry Wilmore Justifies Calling The President The N-Word at White House Correspondent’s Dinner

Comedians have always pushed the envelope. They approach the line of what society says is “acceptable” and stomp over it. From The Marx Brothers, to Lenny Bruce, to Redd Foxx, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Jackie Mason, Eddie Murphy, Sam Kinison, and Andrew “Dice” Clay. All funny people who went too far sometimes with what they had to say but there was some truth in their anger or their observations although we may not have always agreed with them or even liked them. Many of them faced controversy with what they said, some even had to face lawsuits where the First Amendment was in question and brought to play. All have made their mark in comedy.

Then there’s Emmy Award winner Mr. Elister Larry Wilmore. He’s known better as Larry Wilmore, an actor, a comedian, magician, media critic, political commentator, producer, television host of The Nightly Show, and a writer. Evidently he can’t hold down a job and he might be looking for a new one soon due to the furor resulting from his ill conceived comment that is being called “just a joke”.  This past weekend at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Mr. Wilmore used a racial slur in referring to President Barack Obama. The President, in turn for what Mr. Wilmore called him in public, is being accused of being a hypocrite for not criticizing Mr. Wilmore for his actions.

President Obama is not only the one on the spot. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was put in the uncomfortable position of trying to downplay the racial slur thrown at President Obama stating: “Comedians are going to go right up to the line” and that the President “appreciated [Mr. Wilmore’s] sentiments”. Yeah sure; depending if that comedian is a close enough friend to say what he said to President Obama in front of a packed televised room,  otherwise the First Amendment of a comedian saying that word all of a sudden doesn’t apply. Don’t believe me? Ask Michael Richards who played the character Kramer on “Seinfeld” when he said the N-Word. It was practically career suicide for him.



People of all color and across the political spectrum were shocked by Mr. Wilmore’s statement. Reporters, politicians, even Reverend Al Sharpton was left appalled. He usually jumps at things like this to cause protests or raise money for his organization.  What could he say or do when the President laughed along with Mr. Wilmore when Larry Wilmore  turned to President Obama (at his last White House Correspondent’s Annual Dinner as President of The United States no less) and said: “Yo, Barry, you did it my n*gga”??  You could’ve heard a pin drop when he said that.  I mean seriously, where is Reverend Al Jackson going to protest on this one? Where is he going to march? Yes, an element of comedy is shock, but that’s on film or stage, not directed at the leader of the free world, especially when he is the first President of the United States of America who isn’t white and especially when his presidency is stained with racial divisiveness. This is a real life black President of the USA, he is NOT the black sheriff of Blazin’ Saddles.


What’s even more shocking is that Mr. Wilmore beat his chest when he said it to the President and President Obama smiled back and hit his own chest. As a reminder, President Obama received a lot of flack when HE himself used the infamous “N-Word” in an interview last year and then he continued guilting the nation and the world about racism, racism, and more racism–and there he is grinning and beating his chest in response to Mr. Wilmore’s statement. This is the man who won the Emmy Award for writing the pilot episode of The Bernie Mac show?

‘Merica, he couldn’t come up with a better line than: “Yo, Barry, you did it my n*gga”?

obama dinner

When he finally addressed the issue of why he said what he did, he said that he considered The White House Correspondent’s Annual Dinner as a roast. The kind you see at the Friar’s Club or the old Dean Martin Roast, or the ones on Comedy Central lately. “You got to see how we interact when we’re not there. This is how we do it. And this is a word that has been used against black people for so long,” he said. “I was called a n—er several times as a child. I’ve heard that word. To defuse that and to use it in a way of camaraderie, and to take the power out of it in that moment is something that meant a lot to me personally.”

President Obama has roughly 7 months left in his presidency. This is just another unfortunate incident that will be remembered in his final year. Many feel racism is alive and thriving in the USA but let’s not gloss over something that’s in our face as much as racism presumably. The nation voted in an African-American in not once, but twice. That’s something to build on.