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Larry Wilmore ‘bummed out’ Trump skipping Nerd Prom

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Larry Wilmore may not get an opportunity to poke fun at Donald Trump in person at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, but the GOP presidential front-runner should still expect plenty of zingers.

“I’m very bummed out. It would be so fantastic if Trump were there,” Wilmore, this year’s Nerd Prom entertainer, told The Hill recently. “But, you know, I think I may have cemented the fact that he is not there,” he added with a laugh.

The late-night Comedy Central host has jabbed the celebrity businessman for what he views as shallow campaign rhetoric. “But to be in the lead of a nomination for president, that’s what makes it magical,” he said.

{mosads}Trump told The Hill last week that he’s planning to skip the annual dinner, which includes roasts of politicians and members of the media, claiming, “the press would say I look like I wasn’t having a good time.”

The real estate tycoon insisted he enjoyed the dinner in 2011 despite a series of barbs from President Obama during his comedy routine. Trump also attended last year’s dinner before announcing his presidential bid.

“He’s been lampooned so much that it really is interesting to say, what’re you going to make fun of now?” Wilmore asked.

Trump and other presidential candidates are sure to be a major focus of the dinner this year, which comes amid a hectic primary season in what Wilmore described as “the most unusual election I think I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

Still, the comedian, who last week welcomed Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to his show for the fourth time, promises equal attention to those of all political stripes, viewing his speech less as an opportunity to editorialize current events — like on his show — than a time for a stand-up.

“It always seems like people look to us comedians for some relief, or in these days it feels like they look to us to make sense of all this,” Wilmore said. “I don’t know if we can make sense of any of it. At least try to provide some levity in everything and have fun with it.”

Wilmore, who was announced as this year’s Correspondents’ Association entertainer in December, said he attended the dinner for the first time last year and he’ll likely reach out to previous hosts to get a sense of what to expect at the April 30 event.

“It’s definitely one of the highlights of my career,” Wilmore said. “When all is said and done and you’re done with show business and talking to your kids the thing that you can say is hey, I got a chance to perform for the president.”

Wilmore said that while he’s never met Obama personally (they’re both 54, the comedian notes, though have taken “very different paths”), he finds the president genuinely funny and described the opportunity as an “honor.” Still, Obama can expect a “healthy dose of jokes directed at him” at the last of the dinners during his presidency.

“The big fear is that of course the president crushes, you know, because he’s really funny, and they’re done,” Wilmore said, referring to the audience. “It’s tough following a funny president. He’s really funny. And he’s the president. You gotta laugh at him. … Nobody has to laugh at me. They have to laugh at the president.”

Anything going to be off limits?

“God, I hope not,” Wilmore responded.

After a pause, he added, “It’s not like I’m going to go up and do like 20 Zika virus jokes. That just doesn’t make sense. Or Boko Haram jokes.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump

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