For a lot of Black people, humor is our coping mechanism for the racist indignities this country constantly forces upon us. We really needed those laughs this week as we dealt with the tragic murder of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers. Comedian D.L. Hughley had the unenviable task of guest hosting The Daily Show this week and trying to weave humor into this devastating situation.
On the Jan. 30 episode, Hughley opened the show with a short introduction before discussing the release of the body cam video, the news media’s reaction and the consequences for the officers.
“I can tell you what I did find shocking was how fast those cops got arrested,” he said during the episode. “They got arrested so fast, they didn’t even give us time to riot.” As he continued the monologue he commented on the offensive reaction of Fox News, then brought out correspondent Roy Wood Jr.
Ahead of his hosting gig, in an interview with Complex, Hughley discussed the current divisive landscape and how comedy leads to uncomfortable yet necessary conversations.
“We don’t like to be uncomfortable, and comedy has a way of informing and satiating a need for knowledge, but without making people feel attacked. When you do it right, I think it’s the only time people listen,” he said. “Comedy has always been the way to have conversations that people wouldn’t necessarily like to have in an open forum.”
The comedian also commended former host Trevor Noah for stepping away when it felt right for him.
“Anytime somebody has done what they can, it’s better to leave through the front door than the back. He left on a high. He had felt like he contributed all he could and he was leaving on his own terms, and anytime somebody does something like that you can’t help but be happy for them,” Hughley said. “You got to know when to walk away. You don’t want to be Tom Brady. You don’t want to stay too long. Trevor left after his Super Bowl, which is the way to go out—on top.”
Up next for The Daily Show guest host carousel are comedians Chelsea Handler, the week of Feb. 6, and Sarah Silverman, the week of Feb. 13. John Leguizamo, Hasan Minhaj, Kal Penn, and Marlon Wayans are among those who have been announced to appear on upcoming shows.