Larry Wilmore knows he “lost the room early” during his controversial monologue at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night.
“From a pure comedic point of view, I know that I lost the room early — that was apparent, and I knew I was not going to be able to bring them back, so I just tried to have fun and enjoy it.,” Wilmore told The Washington Post on Wednesday. “I was kind of editing along the way and saying, ‘Well, that joke is not going to work.'”
Wilmore continued, “I took a look at the reaction afterward, there were people who were brazenly supportive and others who were brazenly unsupportive.”
Wilmore has received polarizing feedback for his use of the N-word during his speech, but President Obama himself apparently did not object.
“Mr. President, if I’m going to keep it 100: ‘Yo, Barry, you did it, my n—. You did it,” the “Nightly Show” host said to wrap up his speech.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week that President Obama “appreciated the spirit” of Wilmore’s “expressions” used at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Many critics, including Washington Post editorial board member Jonathan Capehart, have expressed displeasure at the joke.
“I don’t think I ever intend to provoke outrage, but I don’t mind being provocative in content,” Wilmore said. “I knew I was teetering on the taste line, and I knew I was probably teetering on the wrong side of the taste line, but I was okay with that.”