Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
From left, Jeff Garlin (actor, comedian), Andrea Savage (actor, comedian), Larry Wilmore, Don Harwell (president, The Genesis Group, an independent branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve the needs of its African-American members), and Troy Williams (gay rights activist, producer and writer, of Salt Lake City) appear on "Larry Wilmore’s Race, Religion & Sex." Courtesy Ricardo Tirado | SHOWTIME
Pierce: Comedian Larry Wilmore was great; Salt Lake audience wasn’t

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Aug 22 2012 10:46 am • Last Updated Nov 30 2012 11:33 pm

The audience that attended the recent Salt Lake City taping of "Larry Wilmore’s Race, Religion & Sex" hour-long Showtime special definitely didn’t represent mainstream Utah.

That was clear immediately when they booed the mention of Mitt Romney.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Not that there aren’t Utahns who don’t vote Republican. Who sport tattoos, white-guy dreadlocks and gauges and represent a variety of sexual identities.

But they clearly don’t exist in the same percentages as were represented in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center when Wilmore’s show was taped on Aug. 14. Which came as no surprise. A lot of those in attendance knew Wilmore from his position as "senior black correspondent" on "The Daily Show."

Wilmore, by the way, is one of the funniest guys on TV. His opening monologue for this hour, which airs Saturday at 9 p.m. and midnight on Showtime, is hilarious.

And he produced some taped pieces that will make you laugh out loud and cringe at the same time. (Um, racism is alive and well in Utah.)

Those elements are interspersed in a panel discussion about race, sex and religion. Religion, as in mostly Mormonism, because of Romney’s presidential candidacy and national profile, but Wilmore makes it clear he’s a Catholic who doesn’t always agree with the Vatican.

Wilmore and his panelists — Hollywood actors Andrea Savage and Jeff Garlin,local radio host/gay activist Troy Williams and Utahn Don Harwell, president of the Genesis Group, an organization of African-American Mormons — discussed a variety of issues. I haven’t seen the final edit, but a lot is going to be edited out of a taping that went on for more than twice the length of the hourlong special.

The taping itself was rather contentious and, at times, absolutely uncomfortable.

There were quite a few people in the audience who had an ax to grind against the LDS Church.


story continues below
story continues below

(At one point, about a dozen audience members identified themselves as Mormons. Several times that many identified themselves as ex-Mormons.)

Frankly, the behavior of one anti-Mormon woman in the audience who kept shouting out during the taping was embarrassing. Self-righteous indignation isn’t attractive, particularly when you’re yelling on camera. With any luck, she was edited out.

And there were times when Harwell seemed like a straw man getting beaten up on by other panelists and the audience. He brought much of it on himself — like when he said God had created men and women and he didn’t know where gays came from — but it was unpleasant.

However, editing is what this sort of show is all about. And there was enough funny, thought-provoking material to fill the hour.

Saturday’s telecast is a pilot for a possible series. Here’s hoping it gets picked up.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.