On Thursday night, Jon Stewart didn’t have any jokes to make about the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, but Larry Wilmore did—sort of. After beginning his opening monologue with an acknowledgement of the gravity of Dylann Roof’s terrorist actions—“What we’ve built [on the Nightly Show] wasn’t really built to handle this kind of tragedy”—Wilmore lit into Fox News’ incredible reactions to the news, namely, yesterday’s segment on Fox and Friends when co-host Steve Doocy tried to pull out a wacky religious persecution theory.
To that, Wilmore said: “Nobody thinks Christians are going around raping everybody and taking over the country. That’s not a thing. Unless you’re a Duggar.” The host only grew more impassioned from there, critiquing the Fox and Friends guest, black pastor E.W. Jackson (who fed into the idea that race wasn’t the issue), and coining a new phrase in the process—“Black don’t distract.” From beginning to end, Wilmore is spot-on, and by the end of his monologue, it seems pretty clear that the Nightly Show had found a way to take even the most horrific, race-fueled crime and comment on it in a way that is at once funny, wistful, and hard-hitting. It’s a nice complement to Stewart’s (equally necessary) wearied and somber view on how the U.S. is going to deal with—or really, not deal with—race going forward.