Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore
Wilmore in 2016
Birth nameElister Larry Wilmore III
Born (1961-10-30) October 30, 1961 (age 62)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Stand-up
  • television
  • film
  • podcast
  • books
Years active1983–present
(m. 1995; div. 2015)

Elister Larry Wilmore III (born October 30, 1961)[1][2] is an American comedian, writer, producer, and actor. He served as the "Senior Black Correspondent" on The Daily Show from 2006 to 2014, and hosted The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore in 2015 and 2016. He is also the creator of the sitcom The Bernie Mac Show. He served as an executive producer for the ABC television series Black-ish, and is the co-creator, with Issa Rae, of the HBO television series Insecure. Since May 2017, he has hosted a podcast, Black on the Air, where he discusses current events and interviews guests.[3] He was the host of the talk show Wilmore.

Early life[edit]

Wilmore was born October 30, 1961, in Los Angeles, California,[1][2] to parents Betty and Larry,[4] and grew up in suburban Pomona.[5] His family is from Evanston, Illinois.[6] He was raised Catholic.[5][7] He is the third of six children. His younger brother Marc was also a television writer, actor, and producer.[5][8]

As a child, Wilmore found interest in topics such as science, magic, science-fiction and fantasy, all of which have shaped the evolution of his performance. In an interview with NPR, he described himself as a nerd, saying that "it used to be that the black comic figure had to have this bravado and always showed there's a comic figure where it's OK to just be a nerd and be black."[9]

Wilmore graduated from Damien High School in La Verne, California in 1979.[10] He studied theatre at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, but dropped out to pursue acting and stand-up comedy.[5]


Beginning in the 1980s, Wilmore appeared in several small film and television roles, including a recurring role as a police officer on The Facts of Life. In the early to mid-1990s, he was on the writing staff of the talk show Into the Night With Rick Dees,[10] the sketch comedy show In Living Color[10] (his younger brother Marc was also a writer with In Living Color; unlike Larry, he became a cast member), and the sitcom Sister, Sister, where he portrayed a bus driver in one episode. He went on to be a writer and producer on a series of black sitcoms, including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Jamie Foxx Show.[10]

In 1999, Wilmore co-created the animated comedy The PJs[11] with Eddie Murphy and was executive producer until its conclusion in 2001. He subsequently created[11] and produced[12] The Bernie Mac Show, and won an Emmy for writing the pilot episode.[13] He created and produced Whoopi, with Whoopi Goldberg.[14] From 2005 to 2007 he was a consulting producer for The Office, and appeared in the "Diversity Day" episode as Mr. Brown, a diversity consultant.[5][11]

In 2006, Wilmore began appearing regularly on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, where he was billed as the "Senior Black Correspondent" or a derivative form of the title, such as the "Senior Executive Commander-in-Chief Who Happens To Be Black Correspondent" following the election of Barack Obama.[5] His work on the show frequently centered on humorous observations of the Black experience in American society.[5][7] Wilmore originated the titular phrase I'd Rather We Got Casinos in a January 2007 Daily Show appearance.[15] In January 2009, Hyperion published Wilmore's I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts, a political humor book described by Booklist as "a faux collection of articles, essays, radio transcripts, and letters exploring the more ludicrous angles on race."

Wilmore has continued occasional acting appearances, including a role as a minister in I Love You, Man (2009) and a supporting role in Dinner for Schmucks (2010). In 2011, He began a recurring role on the ABC comedy Happy Endings, where he played Mr. Forristal, Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.)'s uptight boss. Since 2012, he has starred in the Showtime special Race, Religion and Sex, shot in Salt Lake City.[citation needed]

On April 30, 2016, Wilmore was the headliner at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.[16] He came under fire for using the word "nigga" to refer to President Obama, saying "Barry, you did it my nigga."[17][18] He defended his actions by telling Al Sharpton, "I wanted to make a statement more than a joke...I really wanted to explain the historical implications of the Obama presidency from my point of view."[19]

In May 2017, Wilmore started hosting the podcast Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air as part of The Ringer podcast network, headed by Bill Simmons. Time ranked it in the top five of its list of 10 Best podcast of 2017.[20]

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore[edit]

On January 19, 2015, Wilmore began hosting The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, a late-night panel talk show that aired on Comedy Central. It was a spin-off of The Daily Show, and replaced The Colbert Report on the network's 11:30pm timeslot. It was produced by Jon Stewart's production company Busboy Productions. On August 15, 2016, Comedy Central announced that Wilmore's show had been cancelled, and the show ended August 18, 2016 with a total of 259 episodes.[21]


He briefly hosted his own limited series late-night talk show on Peacock titled Wilmore.[22]


Wilmore has cited Johnny Carson,[23] Richard Pryor,[23] Eddie Murphy[24] and Jon Stewart[25] as comedy influences. He said that when he needs inspiration, he "observe[s] people. I ride the subway, sit in a coffee shop. There’s nothing funnier than real human behavior."[26]

Personal life[edit]

Wilmore was married to actress Leilani Jones for 20 years; they have two children, John and Lauren.[10][4] They divorced in 2015.[8][27] He resided in San Marino, California with his family until moving to New York City to work on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.[28][25][29]


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Good-bye, Cruel World Sergeant, Thug
1990 The Ghost Writer The Paramedic TV movie
2009 I Love You, Man Minister
2010 Dinner for Schmucks Williams
2012 Vamps Professor Quincy
2014 Date and Switch Mr. Vernon
2019 The Laundromat Jeff
2022 Jerry & Marge Go Large Steve


As showrunner[edit]

Year Title Notes
1999–2001 The PJs 43 episodes; co-creator, writer, executive producer
2001–2003 The Bernie Mac Show creator

44 episodes; writer, director, executive producer

2016 Insecure co-creator

8 episodes; writer, executive producer

As performer[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1983 The Facts of Life Officer Ziaukus 2 episodes
1986 Sledge Hammer! Mail Man, Terrorist #3 2 episodes
1990 Star Search[30] Self 1 episode
1992 In Living Color Various 2 episodes
1994 Sister, Sister Bus Driver 2 episodes
1999 The PJs Various voices 2 episodes
2005–2007 The Office Mr. Brown 2 episodes
2006–2014 The Daily Show Himself (senior black correspondent) 78 episodes
2006–2007 Help Me Help You Larry, Jimmy 2 episodes
2008 How I Met Your Mother Dr. Greer Episode: "Everything Must Go"
2009–2010 Accidentally on Purpose Dr. Roland 5 episodes
2011 Traffic Light Harvey 2 episodes
2011 Love Bites The Boss Episode: "Firsts"
2011–2012 Happy Endings Mr. Forristal 2 episodes
2012 Bullet in the Face Racken's Mafiosi #1 Episode: "The World Stage"
2012 Race, Religion and Sex Himself Stand-up special
2013 Malibu Country Mr. Clark 2 episodes
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Historian Episode: "A Hard Drive to Swallow"
2013 Instant Mom Franklin Turner Episode: "The Gift of the Maggies"
2014 Playing House Dr. Ullman Episode: "37 Weeks"
2014–2017 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Principal Larry (voice) Main role
2015–2016 The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Himself (host) 259 episodes; also writer, executive producer
2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner Himself (host) TV special
2017 Difficult People Larry Wilmore Episode: "Passover Bump"
2017 The Mayor Vern Episode: "The Filibuster"
2020 Upload Mr. Whitbridge 2 episodes
2020 Wilmore Himself (host)

As crew member[edit]

Year Title Notes
1990–1991 Into the Night 6 episodes; writer
1991–1993 In Living Color 58 episodes; writer
1994–1995 Sister, Sister 5 episodes; writer
1995–1996 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 24 episodes; co-producer, writer
1996–1997 The Jamie Foxx Show 21 episodes; writer, supervising producer
1997–1998 Teen Angel 17 episodes; writer, consulting producer
2003–2004 Whoopi 22 episodes; writer, executive producer
2005–2007 The Office 50 episodes; writer, consulting producer
2011 Love Bites 8 episodes; writer, consulting producer
2014–2015 Black-ish 24 episodes; executive producer
2018–present Grown-ish creator

writer; 1 episode

Published works[edit]

  • Wilmore, Larry (2009). I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts. Hachette Book Group. ISBN 978-1-4013-0955-8.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1992 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program In Living Color Nominated
1996 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award Favorite TV Show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Nominated
1996 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Nominated
1997 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Nominated
1999 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Jamie Foxx Show Nominated
1999 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Program The PJs Nominated
2001 Peabody Award The Bernie Mac Show Won
2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Jamie Foxx Show Nominated
2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show Nominated
2002 TCA Award Outstanding Achievement in Comedy The Bernie Mac Show Won
2002 Teen Choice Award Choice Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show Nominated
2002 Teen Choice Award Choice TV Breakout Show The Bernie Mac Show Won
2002 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show Won
2003 Writers Guild of America Award Episodic Comedy The Bernie Mac Show Nominated
2003 Young Artist Award Best Family Television Series (Comedy or Drama) The Bernie Mac Show Nominated
2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show Won
2003 Humanitas Prize 30 Minute Network or Syndicated Television The Bernie Mac Show Won
2003 Teen Choice Award Choice Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show Nominated
2003 Satellite Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy The Bernie Mac Show Won
2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series Whoopi Nominated
2006 Writers Guild of America Award Comedy Series The Office Nominated
2006 Writers Guild of America Award New Series The Office Nominated
2008 Writers Guild of America Award Comedy Series The Office Nominated
2016 NAACP Image Award[31] Outstanding Talk Series The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Nominated
2016 NAACP Image Award[31] Outstanding Host in a News, Talk, Reality, or Variety (Series or Special) The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Nominated
2017 NAACP Image Award[32] Outstanding Comedy Series Insecure Nominated
2017 NAACP Image Award[32] Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Insecure Nominated
2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards[33] Show of the Year Insecure Nominated
2018 Austin Film Festival[34] Extraordinary Contribution to Television N/A Won


  1. ^ a b Matz, Jenni (2017-08-31). Larry Wilmore Interview Part 1 of 3. Archive of American Television. Event occurs at 1:20. Retrieved 2024-01-01. I was born in Los Angeles, California...1961. My name is Elister Larry Wilmore III.
  2. ^ a b "Larry Wilmore Biography: Talk Show Host,(1961–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on August 5, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  3. ^ "Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air". The Ringer. 9 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts. Hachette Books. 2015. p. Acknowledgments. ISBN 978-0316262811.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Lee, Felicia R. "They Call Me Mister Correspondent", The New York Times, April 2, 2007.
  6. ^ Wilmore, Larry "Larry Wilmore: The Wilmore Report."Chicago Humanities Festival, November 19, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Bashir, Martin and Dan Morris. "Veteran TV Writer Moves in Front of the Camera", ABC News, October 10, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Wilmore, I'd Rather We Got Casinos, page ?
  9. ^ "With 100th Episode, Larry Wilmore's 'Nightly Show' Has Found Its Voice". August 19, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d e Baber, LaRue V. (January 31, 2003). "King of comedy - Damien High grad went from stand-up to winning an Emmy". The Whittier Daily News. Whittier, California.
  11. ^ a b c "'Black Thoughts' With Comedian Larry Wilmore". NPR. February 24, 2009.
  12. ^ Deggans, Eric (July 29, 2001). "Salvaging the sitcom". St. Petersburg Times.
  13. ^ "54th Emmy Awards: What They Said". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. September 23, 2002. p. D10.
  14. ^ McFadden, Kay (September 9, 2003). "NBC scores near-hit, sure miss in 'Whoopi', 'Happy Family' - Fall TV". The Seattle Times. p. E1.
  15. ^ Black History Month (video clip from episode of television show). The Daily Show. January 31, 2007. Jon Stewart: Don't you feel that black history month serves a purpose? Larry Wilmore: Yes, the purpose of making up for centuries of oppression with 28 days of trivia. You know what? I'd rather we got casinos.
  16. ^ Rhodan, Maya (16 December 2015). "Larry Wilmore to Host White House Correspondents' Dinner". Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  17. ^ Ryan, April (5 May 2016). "Larry Wilmore's n-word 'joke' was an insult to black journalists". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  18. ^ Riley, Rochelle (7 May 2016). "What Larry Wilmore did to the president". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  19. ^ Coleburn, Christina (8 May 2016). "Larry Wilmore: N-Word Was No Joke". NBC News. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  20. ^ "The Top 10 Podcasts of 2017". Time Magazine.
  21. ^ "Comedy Central Cancels Larry Wilmore's Late-Night Show". The New York Times. August 16, 2016.
  22. ^ White, Peter (September 14, 2020). "Peacock Unveils First-Look At Late Night Shows 'Wilmore' & 'The Amber Ruffin Show'".
  23. ^ a b "Larry Wilmore biography". Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  24. ^ Schwindt, Oriana (July 27, 2015). "Goodbye, and Goodnight". TV Guide. p 19.
  25. ^ a b Sims, David (January 21, 2015). "The Fearless Comedy of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  26. ^ Davias, Arianna (February 9, 2015). "Things you didn't know about Larry Wilmore". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  27. ^ "For Host Larry Wilmore, A Year Of 'Extraordinary' Highs And 'Humbling' Lows". NPR. February 19, 2015.
  28. ^ Hawai'i Tony winner back in N.Y. spotlight, The Honolulu Advertiser; accessed June 20, 2015.
  29. ^ Larry Wilmore profile Archived 2016-08-05 at the Wayback Machine,, A&E Television Networks, LLC; accessed June 20, 2015.
  30. ^ "Star Search- May 12, 1990 (Round 2 Semifinals)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22.
  31. ^ a b "Nominees - NAACP Image Awards Website". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  32. ^ a b "NAACP Image Award Nominations Announced". December 13, 2016. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  33. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (March 2, 2017). "2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards Nominations List — 'This Is Us,' 'Stranger Things'". TVLine. Archived from the original on April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  34. ^ "2018 Winners". Austin Film Festival. 2018-10-28. Retrieved 2021-10-09.

External links[edit]