It’s official: Comedy Central has canceled “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”, after almost a year and a half on air.
The Nightly Show, which stemmed from Wilmore’s stint as “Senior Black Correspondent” on The Daily Show, which replaced “The Colbert Report” when Stephen Colbert left to host The Late Show, will itself be replaced by “@Midnight.”
The loss of the Nightly Show is a blow to those who found its unique combination of news parody and pundit parody entertaining and its fearlessness when tackling important social issues important. Though Wilmore stated that he was grateful to have had the opportunity to air the show for a year and a half, he also echoed the sentiments of many fans in his disappointment that he will no longer have a platform with which to cover the election. In a separate statement, Wilmore expressed that he is “saddened and surprised we won’t be covering this crazy election, or ‘The Unblackening’, as we’ve coined it… I guess I hadn’t counted on ‘The Unblackening’ happening on my show.”
Fans shouldn’t fret, though: Wilmore who self-describes as being formed in part by self-deprecating Jewish comedy, isn’t going anywhere. His new show “Insecure”, co-created with comedian, writer, and performer Issa Rae, will explore the intersections of identity, race, gender, and social interaction in a way that, in classic Wilmore style, will be as funny as it is thought-provoking.
“Insecure” will air on HBO on Sunday, October 9th.
Until then, enjoy this classic Stewart/Wilmore clip:
“Game of Thrones” fans, beware. Spoilers below.
Just when you thought HBO’s “Game of Thrones” couldn’t possibly surprise viewers any more, Jewish producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff go ahead and kill off Hodor, perhaps the sweetest, most harmless character in the show’s history.
For years, the two have been unapologetically decapitating, dismembering, drawing, quartering, burning — you get the idea— characters with nary a thought to the viewers’ devastation and broken hearts. And they are not about to start now.
So when Weiss and Benioff made a surprise apology video on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” while seated on a couch strewn with money, they were only remorseful for the annoying jokes their latest death has spawned. Hodor, who we now know is a fragmented version of “Hold the door,” has made the Monday morning after the show particularly irritating, especially when doors are involved.
Apology not accepted!
Watch the full video, which is actually very funny, below:
(JTA) — Good storytelling, like good comedy, often draws from real life. It also relies on timing — finding the precise moment when it won’t just entertain but resonate, provoke, perhaps even shift our national conversation.
“Show Me a Hero” — the six-part HBO miniseries created by journalist-turned-showrunner par excellence David Simon (“The Wire,” “Treme”) with William Zorzi (who worked with Simon at the Baltimore Sun and on “The Wire”) and Paul Haggis (“Crash”) — combines riveting storytelling with impeccable timing.
On Sunday, Aug. 30, HBO will debut the final two episodes of this miniseries, based on the searing nonfiction narrative of journalist Lisa Belkin’s 1999 book, “Show Me a Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race and Redemption.” It’s being rereleased Sept. 1, with a new foreword by David Simon and epilogue by the author.
“Show Me a Hero” unfolds around the 1985 ruling of U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand (a pitch-perfect Bob Balaban), in a case brought to federal court by the U.S. Justice Department and the NAACP. In his 600-page ruling, Sand finds that Yonkers has intentionally segregated itself over the decades, and orders the city to create first 200 units of low-income housing, then 800 units of affordable housing, in the mainly white, middle-class part of the city.
What could be a yawning tale of wonkiness is anything but. It’s the story of young Yonkers Mayor Nick Wasicsko (Oscar Isaac), the (white) denizens and politicians who fight the NAACP-sided ruling tooth and nail, and the Yonkers residents (primarily women of color) who live in the projects. These women are the would-be residents of the mandated new housing, designed by the innovative architect and urban planner Oscar Newman, proponent of “defensible space” and enemy of high-rise housing projects.
These decades-old events feel particularly timely now, with civil rights activists embracing a vital new tool: this summer’s Supreme Court ruling that even unintentional housing discrimination is illegal. It’s especially relevant for a Jewish community exploring its own diversity, history of civil rights activism, and, yes, racism.
Perhaps best known today for writing about work-family balance, Belkin’s narrative breathes grainy life into the Yonkers of the 1980s and 1990s. We read (or watch), riveted, knowing that so many of the tropes are utterly unsustainable: The hair! The thinly veiled racism! The cigars in offices! Mayor Wasicsko’s Maalox habit!
“Show Me a Hero” isn’t polemic; it leaves its audience to draw its own conclusions. And yet, viewers can’t help but to compare our own times and actions to those depicted here. This week, we chatted with Belkin by phone about politics, race, anti-Semitism and what’s changed in the years since she wrote the book.
Michael Sussman, the NAACP lawyer fighting for the desegregation of public housing, is Jewish. The U.S. District judge, Leonard Sand, is Jewish. You and David Simon are Jewish. To what extent do you feel that Jews are drawn to civil rights issues as part of a broader pull toward social justice in America?
Belkin: Clearly they are. Civil rights, tikkun olam, is a thread that goes through everything that I learned about my religion. That’s my job – to leave the world a better place. If you have a cultural history as the person who isn’t wanted, then you have an obligation to help those who aren’t wanted. [As Belkin concurs however, not every Jew speaking out about Yonkers was on the NAACP’s side.]
“Show Me a Hero” is about politics and race. In recent weeks, we’ve seen Black Lives Matter shift the conversations of some of the candidates running for president — including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. When it comes to national policies around affordable housing in the United States, what do you hope we’ll hear more about this election season?
I think we’re hearing them. Isn’t it amazing that we made a miniseries about municipal housing? Who makes a miniseries about public housing policies? Now, people are talking about public housing policies. I’ve said before that “this is more resonant today” – people weren’t ready to tackle it. They were so bruised, those who were advancing that cause.
The Obama administration just pledged to enforce fair housing with new vigor – you can’t take federal funds to segregate your city. The Supreme Court has said you don’t have to reach the bar of showing [that segregation is] deliberate, you just have to show that the end effect is segregated.
People are beginning to understand, with Ferguson and Baltimore, the idea of two Americas, two Americas that can’t understand each other because they stand on different (literal and metaphorical) sides of the street and look at the same country through different eyes, because we don’t need to be near each other because of the way we constructed society. I think we are hearing more of the conversation, I hope, that we should be hearing.
There’s this moment in the second episode, when a protester says, “He’s a Jew…. They all are. That’s why this is happening.” How prevalent has this sentiment been – when the book came out and now?
I was struck by how virulent the streak of anti-Semitism is; there are several scenes, in both the book and the series. The fact that it was a Jewish judge and lawyer that was doing it – it became a lightning rod. David and I were both aware of that.
It was definitely part of the reaction – not the main part. The people who protested this, I have always believed, thought that they were not prejudiced, not racist, that this wasn’t a question of race, that it was protecting their investment. It was about fear. That fear was about people and lifestyles different from theirs.
This story seems like the ultimate precursor to the dialogue now being had around white privilege, including in the Jewish community. When you wrote “Show Me a Hero,” did you imagine this conversation would take hold?
White privilege wasn’t a concept then. It existed, but it wasn’t part of the conversation. There’s one story I wish had made it into the miniseries. One of the women who was protesting this was leading a pretty much parallel life, with a daughter about the age of one of the tenants in the story. This mother’s daughter came to her and said she was pregnant. The point was that this woman was looking at these people on the “wrong” side of town — why are they having trouble? why are they running amok? — yet she was dealing with exactly the same thing. Yet it didn’t destroy her daughter’s life in the same way. There were different supports and privileges on the other side of town.
How do you see “Show Me a Hero” differently now, after all these years?
This has been a reunion. [The people I originally interviewed for the book] were there for the filming. It’s been amazing to see what they’ve made of their lives. This [low-income housing] was supposed to be a stepping stone. Not in every case, but in a gratifying percentage of cases it really worked that way. Their kids are now grown. You don’t usually get that as a writer.
Also, I understood that it’s far more complicated than I’d realized. I don’t think that I went in with a view. I went into it with a lot of questions about whether this would work — a personal reflection. For the most part, it did work, and I feel I’m not sure how I’d respond if it were my neighborhood. I understand how it was terrifying. Yet I like to think that if it were done properly, if it were done with care, it’s a good way for people to live with each other.
What do you hope viewers and readers of “Show Me a Hero” will take away?
I hope it gets them thinking, How would this feel if this were us? That’s what all the people who made this, and me, who wrote this, want.
“Show Me a Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race, and Redemption” by Lisa Belkin is being rereleased Sept. 1 by Little, Brown and Company. The final two segments of the six-part miniseries will debut on Sunday, Aug. 30 from 8-10 p.m. ET on HBO.
(JTA) — It’s no secret that Jewish television writer David Simon is adored at HBO. His past productions for the cable channel, including “The Wire” and “Treme,” are some of the most critically acclaimed series in TV history.
Nevertheless, it was surprising to hear last week that HBO had ordered not one, but two television pilots from the industry veteran.
The first is called “The Deuce” and will star James Franco as two identical twins who set up a porn business in New York’s squalid Times Square of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Take a second to digest that one
The second is an unnamed project set on Capitol Hill, which could examine the influence of money on Washington, D.C., politics. Simon is developing this one with Jewish journalist Carl Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward broke the Watergate scandal and helped force President Richard Nixon to resign from office.
Meanwhile, Simon – whose father worked for Jewish service group B’nai B’rith for 20 years – will have his latest HBO miniseries debut on August 16. The six-part series, entitled “Show Me A Hero,” chronicles the process of desegregating the city of Yonkers, New York, in the ’80s and stars Oscar Isaac, Wynona Rider, Alfred Molina and Catherine Keener.
Simon’s shows have always enjoyed more acclaim than viewership, and he has said recently that he’s surprised HBO keeps bringing him back. In one interview, he called himself the “PBS of HBO.” He credits the Internet with giving his material a long enough lifespan to allow it to reach people who are genuinely interested.
“I don’t think people watch my stuff when it’s on the air,” Simon told the UK’s Independent last Friday. “I think I have a very long tail. If the stuff is allowed to exist, it will stand. Some people will find it, and some people won’t.”
If you’re still reeling from the “Game of Thrones finale,” there’s some good news on the horizon. Kit Harrington (aka Jon Snow) will soon star alongside Andy Samberg in HBO’s ‘7 Days in Hell,’ a tennis parody about the longest Wimbledon match in history.
From the looks of the trailer a very bare faced Harrington, repping the Brits, still knows nothing, while Samberg seems to be doing everything in his power to channel Andre Agassi (minus the hair).
We’ve managed to spot some of the upcoming cameos, including Serena Williams, John McEnroe, Lena Dunham, and June Squibb as a crude Queen Elizabeth.
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