The One Guest Larry Wilmore Hated Having On His Show

While Comedy Central’s topical talk shows don’t get as unhinged or intense as conversations between people not under the pressure of TV tapings, they definitely come across as less superfluous than the bigger late shows on network TV. And so sometimes topics come up that the hosts aren’t too agreeable with, but they have to tuck it in and save face. Such a thing probably happens all the time for The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore, who revealed his most despised past guest.

Yes, the lady who said she wanted to go to Mars. I hated her every second she was on my show.

Short, to the point, and sharply targeted. (That doesn’t even describe the majority of The Nightly Show episodes, really.) While Wilmore doesn’t specifically name the woman who stoked his ire, it is very likely Sonia Van Meter, the Austin, Texas native who was chosen as one of the finalists in the Mars One program, which has a plan to send a handful of volunteers on a one-way trip to the red planet to do the first on-site research into colonization in the future. Now, there’s not much in that description that seems destined to make Larry Wilmore pissed off, but she apparently did just that somehow.

Even if you take a look at the episode, which you can do below, it’s not immediately clear just what about her mentally set Wilmore off. She appears to be polite, cheerful and informative about the topic, while regular panelist Ricky Velez keeps derailing it, as he does every other time someone smart is trying to talk. (Seriously, Velez is one of the worst things on TV.) Several comments beneath Wilmore’s AMA answer questioned why she got namechecked here, so it’s not just me. Judge for yourself.

It’s possible that Larry Wilmore just thinks the Mars One program is bullshit, and he gets fed up with hearing Van Meter talk about it as if it’s a thing that will definitely happen. Mars One has a huge number of critics who see it as a slow-moving cash grab that will never reach a suitable budget or acquire the proper equipment and supplies, and Wilmore might be in that group. Or maybe there were some things that happened when the cameras weren’t rolling that irked the host. To be fair, he doesn’t quite look like he’s put off by her as he has looked with other guests, but that’s really just being professional.

Van Meter definitely doesn’t come across as horrible as Hugh Grant was on The Daily Show some years back, which Jon Stewart has repeatedly bitched about, going so far as to ban the actor from future appearances. I’m guessing Wilmore won’t be inviting Van Meter back, though, regardless of if he makes that ban public or not.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.