Host Larry Wilmore began The Nightly Show on Monday by mocking MSNBC host Al Sharpton’s possible protest against the Academy Awards.
“I appreciate your efforts, but you’re literally stretching yourself thin,” Wilmore said. “Take a break, man, seriously. They’re worried about you. You need to eat food, not just airtime.”
Sharpton reportedly called an “emergency meeting” to consider protesting the awards in response to the lack of nominations for director Ava DuVernay’s film Selma.
Though the movie was nominated for Best Picture, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been accused of snubbing both DuVernay and star David Oyelowo, who portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The Oscar nominations are out, and they’re so white a grand jury has decided not to indict them,” Wilmore said to kick off the series premiere.
Sharpton’s latest campaign, Wilmore noted, came following months of appearances and demonstrations protesting police brutality, and specifically the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island.
“Al, Al, Al, Al. Slow down, man,” Wilmore urged Sharpton. “You don’t have to respond to every Black emergency. You’re not Black Batman, our racial fire chief.”
Overall, he said, protests calling for changes in environmental policy and minimum wage increases had proven to be successful. But Wilmore conceded that it was not unreasonable for some to view Ferguson protests as disorganized, given that the goals of the Civil Rights Era were more tangible.
“In the old days, it was about being able to sit at a lunch counter, going to the same schools, or even voting,” he explained. “Today we’re just trying to not get shot on our way to work.”
Watch Wilmore’s commentary, as posted online, below.