Under fire for his performance at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Larry Wilmore said he wouldn’t want to host again.
In an interview with TheWrap Wilmore said, “I don’t think you want to do this type of thing again. I don’t think anybody would ever ask me back for something like this.”
Wilmore has been the subject of much debate and some criticism this week in the wake of roast-style jokes at the event, not all of which were well received in the room, particularly his insults of journalists including Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon.
Wilmore himself has admitted that he “lost the room early.”
None of his comments, however, have proven as controversial as Wilmore’s use of a modified racial slur for his closer, when the “Black-ish” executive producer addressed President Obama directly, concluding, “Yo, Barry, you did it, my nigga.”
Wilmore told TheWrap he’s “fine” with what he qualified as the “mixed” reaction his performance has received since Saturday.
“It would have been disappointing to completely fail,” he added.
And no, Wilmore didn’t hear anything directly from the president after that now-infamous closing line, though the “Nightly Show” host believes Obama took no issue with it.
“I only got an impression immediately from the president that he was cool by his body language,” Wilmore said. “I think you can tell when someone is like, ‘Alright that wasn’t cool, but I’m gonna act like it was.’
“I didn’t get that impression, because that would have been completely nerve-wracking — I would’ve been horrified,” he continued. “I wasn’t trying to rankle the president or anything.”
Wilmore did, however, receive a “good job” note from an Obama aide after the dinner, saying his spot was “great.”
What the note didn’t say, Wilmore told us, was even more telling, joking that it was absent any lines like, “OK motherfucker, why’d you come in here and break the china?”
The comedian also said he “absolutely, completely” wouldn’t have closed with the much-grumbled-about controversial line had this been any other year in Obama’s presidency.
“The sentiment that I expressed at the end is a last-year sentiment that I wanted to honor the historical implications,” Wilmore explained. “I felt very connected to that sort of thing.”
Since 1983, when hosting duties began routinely falling to comedians, five performers have repeated in the role: Jay Leno (four times), Rich Little, George H.W. Bush impersonator Jim Morris, Al Franken and Conan O’Brien (all twice).
Wilmore’s “Nightly Show” airs weeknights on Comedy Central at 11:30 p.m., the old “Colbert Report” time slot. You can watch his entire WHCD set here: