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The Independent Online

Stephen Colbert isn’t due to debut in Letterman’s chair on the Late Show until September, but his late-night replacement on Comedy Central has already started work.

At the top of the first episode of The Nightly Show on Monday, host Larry Wilmore – formerly The Daily Show’s “Senior Black Correspondent” – noted that it was Martin Luther King Day, and yet here he was, toiling onscreen all the same.

The Nightly Show aims to find the funny side of race issues. Wilmore referred to the Ferguson and Eric Garner protests, joking, “all the good bad race stuff happened already”. But there’s more where that came from: in his opening monologue he addressed the Oscar snub of Selma director Ava DuVernay – though not of the film’s star, David Oyelowo. “He’s a British brother,” Wilmore said. “I don’t really care about them.”

The second half of the programme is a panel discussion; on Wednesday, David Remnick, The New Yorker editor, was among the guests.

On day two, the episode was devoted to the Bill Cosby scandal. Wilmore introduced the topic, saying: “We’ll ask the question, did he do it? The answer will be ‘yes’.” The show remains a work in progress, but it already has good jokes, a winning host – and, let’s face it, no shortage of subject matter.

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