One of the mantras that governs Comedy Central's new talk show The Nightly Show, is host Larry Wilmore's credo of "keeping it 100." That's slang for keeping things real and honest, with no room for bullshit.
Monday night's first episode had Wilmore asking guests to keep it 100, when asked whether they would like their baby to be black or white and whether hip-hop is a problem for the black community. Keeping it 100 works better in certain situations than others.
Tuesday night was one of the nights it worked. Wilmore told his audience his second show would deal with Bill Cosby and the multiple women who have come forward with stories that he raped them. Wilmore promised to keep it real.
And he did.
"We're talking Cosby," Wilmore said, opening his show. "We'll answer the question 'Did he do it?' The answer will be yes."
Wilmore devoted the entire opening segment of his show to dressing down Cosby rape deniers, and raising the question of why people don't want to believe the multiple women who have come forward.
"The current tally stands at 35 women," he said. "That's like if Bill Cosby drugged and raped every single president from George Washington to John F. Kennedy."
And that wasn't all of it. Wilmore followed up his monologue and introduction segment with a panel that discussed the rape allegations. Comedians Kathleen Madigan and Keith Robinson, writer Baratunde Thurston and Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux joined him.
While the three panelists seemed to be on the side of the 30-plus women who have come forward, Robinson was adamant that at least some of the women were lying about being raped. His reasoning was that Gloria Allred was involved. It was uncomfortable.
"We're going too hard on Cosby. We're already acting like we know he did it," Robinson said, implying the idea of "innocent until proven guilty."
But Wilmore wasn't having it.
"I understand that people are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. However this is the court of public opinion and this is my show. And that [expletive] did it," Wilmore responded. "The proof is common sense for Christ's sake. We don't have to turn off our brains because 'the law' says we're not supposed to make assumptions."