Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Race and Humor

The Aspen Ideas Festival is ongoing this week and today I attended Race and Humor, which was basically Ta-Nehisi Coates, an author and writer and blogger for the Atlantic, interviewing Larry Wilmore, the Senior Black Correspondent for the Daily Show.

I realize I'm probably in the minority here but I was more acquainted with Coates from his recent interviews on NPR promoting his book which was recently released in paperback than I was with Wilmore of whom honestly I had never heard. Many of you probably already know this but Wilmore's a funny guy. He started his career as a stand up comedian and then moved into writing, starting with In Living Color. He styles himself as a contrarian and is just full of piercing, witty observations.

During the Q&A period, an audience member asked him if he was offended by the ghetto portrayal of the "twins" in Transformers 2. The audience member specifically referenced (and mischaracterized) a line in the movie where the twins said they couldn't read an ancient language. Wilmore's one line response was that he didn't care if a Transformer can't read.

In response to another audience member's question about Dave Chappelle's rationalization for walking away from his TV show and $50 million dollars (that he felt that his mostly white audience was laughing at him, not with him), Wilmore basically said (in a very biting and humorous way) that he thought Chappelle was stupid to walk away from all that money, especially given the fact that Chappelle wrote all his own material and thus had control if he didn't like how people were reacting.

He's written a book of satirical essays, I'd Rather We Got Casinos, that I'd like to read when it comes out in paperback. I'm also going to make an effort to find some of his Daily Show video clips online.

I also had the opportunity to briefly chat with Coates afterwards to tell him how impressed I was with his article on Michelle Obama in the Atlantic.


Anonymous said...

You're lucky to live in a place where you can easily attend these events. Fascinating and fun.

IamMBB said...

It is easy. Got home from a hike up Aspen Mountain at 11:30 am and still had time to shower and make the event at noon. Very cool.