Larry Wilmore Hints That Jon Stewart’s Departure Might Have Hurt His Ratings

If you were one of the few people who regularly watched the just-cancelled The Nightly Show, then you’re probably pretty bummed by Comedy Central’s decision. No one is more bummed than host Larry Wilmore, though, and as he explains in a new interview, he was pretty blindsided by the suddenness of the network’s decision to immediately pull the plug.

A still shell-shocked Wilmore spoke with Vulture about the unfortunate turn of events, but tried to put a positive spin on the situation, telling the site that he was thankful for the opportunity to have had a show at all. Still, it was hard for the host to hide his disappointment at failing to connect with more viewers (the ultimate explanation for why the show was cancelled), and he struggled with understanding the reasoning behind it. Vulture asked Wilmore if he thought the show’s frequent tackling of racial topics perhaps contributed to “white people’s discomfort” with and disinterest in the show (translation: they weren’t watching, forcing the ratings down), but according to the host, that wasn’t a problem when he had a different lead-in.

“I mean, our numbers were great when Jon Stewart was there, so I don’t know,” Wilmore responded. “I could make the argument that Jon not being our lead-in hurt our numbers. There are a lot of ways you can make the argument.”

Wilmore’s comments could be interpreted as a dig at new Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who’s had his own problems with flailing ratings after taking over from Stewart last year. The comedian didn’t elaborate on the subject, but readers can draw their own conclusions about his true intention with that statement.

One thing is clear, though: Wilmore doesn’t think The Nightly Show‘s uncomfortable subject matter is to blame for its failure to attract a wider audience. “There were a lot of people who really appreciated the fact that we tackled those subjects,” he told Vulture. “And there are some people who are never going to like that no matter what you do. So it’s hard to point to one thing. ‘Well, you shouldn’t have talked about that, and you would’ve done a good show.’ ” Wilmore also hinted that he may yet find a way to insert his unique brand of political commentary into the rest of election season. We’ll look forward to that, in whatever form it may take. In the meantime, the comedian should enjoy all the free booze coming his way.

(Via Vulture)