The Larry People vs. Flint - Checking In on Michigan's Water Crisis

August 9, 2016 - Abdullah Saeed 08/09/2016 Views: 309

The lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, MI, continues without relief, thanks in part to congressional inaction and public apathy. (7:45)

Thank you very much!

Thank you!

Oh, you're so kind!

Please, please have a seat.

Welcome to The Nightly Show!

I am Larry Wilmore!Oh, thank you. Have a seat.

(scattered chanting of "Larry!")

Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

I appreciate how long the onebrother took to sit down.

"No, I'm finishing."

Thanks, brother,I appreciate it.

Okay, all right.Welcome to The Nightly Show.

I am Larry Wilmore.I have to bring this up.

Before we start,at a Hillary rally last night--

this is amazing-- there was aninteresting person in the crowd.

REPORTER: What's the father of the man responsible

for the Orlando massacre doing at a Hillary Clinton rally?

REPORTER 2: There he is tonight in Kissimmee,

just 30 minutes from the Pulse nightclub.

Clinton is good for United Stateversus, uh, Donald Trump.

Oh, my God. He's with her?


I mean, I knowthis election has been weird,

but this isjust horrible optics.

I-I mean, even-even LensCrafterswas like, "Ouch."

All right? In fact,I haven't seen optics this bad

since LBJ's inauguration,when Lee's dad,

Greg Harvey Oswald,was standing behind him.

No, Greg,you were not Number One Dad!

All right, now, look,we made a promise on this show

not to forget about the peoplein Flint, Michigan,

and their ongoing water crisis.

So let's check inwith the Larry People vs. Flint.

(water dripping)

Almost sounds too happy,that intro.

So, a few months ago,everyone cared

about the poisoningof a U.S. city.

And now when you search"Flint, Michigan" on Google,

the first hit you get isan article from Elle magazine.

Now, I'm not knocking Elle,

but it is the same magazinethat just posted,

"Mariah Carey sat in a chairmade from shirtless men."


Now, look, donations of moneyand water are down

as the story has fadedfrom the headlines,

and the city still needs$40 million

to help kids battlethe effects of lead exposure.

Hey, look,I know people aren't excited

about the Flint story anymore,but think of it this way:

the sooner this water situationis fixed,

the sooner Orlando Bloomand Katy Perry

can go naked paddleboardingin the Flint River.

All right?

It's true.Let me tell you something,

let me tell you something,that's one pipe

that's not corroded.Am I right, ladies?

-Am I right? Am I right?-(cheering)

This is a sick crowd--I can tell.

And since we live in a countrythat operates

on a $4 trillion budget,

surely Congress will help Flint

pull through this catastrophe,right?

Uh-uh. Not so fast.

A few weeks ago,Senators urged Mitch McConnell

to bring up legislationthat contained

a $220 million aid package.

But instead of helpingthe people of Flint,

Congress went on vacation,

presumably so Mitch McConnellcould go to Busch Gardens.

"Uh, d-does this thingloop-the-loop? Uh...

I just want...I just want to know."

At least things couldn't getmuch worse in Flint, right?

Well, as residents of Michigan'sseventh largest city know,

every aging water pipehas a lead lining.

REPORTER: In Flint's First Ward, Monday is trash day,

but, this week, these trash bags aren't going anywhere,

the latest in the ongoing battle

between the mayor's administration and city council

over who should pick up the trash.

Jesus Christ.(sighs)

So Flint has no clean water,and now, because of wrangling

over contracts and budgets,no trash pickup?

But, upside,with so much going wrong,

Flint is now the frontrunner toland the 2024 Summer Olympics.

I'm just saying.

Looking at the silver lining.

This is a toilet.

Oh. It is a toilet.

Thank you, Olympics Toilet Man.

Great timing on that.

So my question is,

why isn't this still oneof the biggest news stories?

I mean, it's notas if news outlets are so packed

with vital storiesthat there's no room for Flint.

Take a look at this chart,which shows the number

of Google News searchesfor "Flint" over the past year.

You can actually trace people'sapathy along the chart.

"Wow, we haveto help the people in Flint!"

"Whatever happenedto those people in Flint?"

(yawning):"I'm starting not to care

about the people in Flint."

"Didn't Suicide Squad suck?"



All right, one of the effectsof lead exposure is memory loss,

but it seems like the peopleof Flint aren't the ones

who need their memory joggedabout this crisis.

They're reminded of itevery damn day.

In fact, for more on the currentsituation in Flint,

we go live to a localyouth activity organizer

at the Flint Youth Council.

So please welcome Glenda Jones,everybody.

(cheers and applause)

Hey, Glenda.

Uh, I really... I really wantto thank you for joining us.

-Sure.-Oh, so how's your summer going?

How's my summer going?

It's hot as (bleep),and the water's poison.

How's your summer going,asshole?

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

It was justan innocent question, all right?

You know what?I'm-I'm sorry, Larry.

I'm-I'm just a little cranky.

I've been showeringwith wet naps

for the last two years, so...

-Oh.-You know.

I understand. I understand,and look, hey,

I think it's terrible thatcongress has been ignoring you

and not doing the right thingby Flint.

Um, you know, you've beenignoring us too, Larry.

When was the last time you did astory about Flint on your show?

Uh, uh, I'm doing one right now!

Look, hey,we talk about Flint a lot.

DRE:Uh, Larry, uh, actually,

last time we did a storyon Flint was May 11.


It's Dre, our director.

Not now, Dre!

What the hell, man?

-Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.-(laughter)

And how many times

in the last three monthshave you talked about Trump?

Well, I mean,not all that much really.

-I mean, it... -DRE: Uh,almost every day, Larry.

-Shut up, Dre!-(laughter)

-God. (bleep)-(cheers and applause)

Why don't you do the interview?

Look, Glenda, I'm sorry.

-We're complicit in this, too.I apologize. -All right.

But I just wanted to see,

you know,how you guys were getting by.

Oh, great. We're aboutto have a water balloon fight.

You ever throw a water balloon

filled with toxic leadat somebody, Larry?


(laughter, applause)

No, um...

I assumethat would not be very safe.

Oh, yeah, you can kill a (bleep)with one of those.

(laughter, applause)

-But you know when it getsreally hot... -Uh-huh.

...the only thing we have

to cool these kids downare homemade Popsicles.

-Oh, that's good. That's good.-Yeah, yeah.

All you need is a stick,and anything can be a Popsicle.

-Uh-huh.-Yeah, like potatoes.

-(laughter, applause)-Potatoes?

Yeah, this one's strawberry,this one's butter pecan.


-Yeah.-Mmm. Butter pecan.


Or... or a bar of soap.


I use Irish Springand tell the kids it's mint.

-(laughter)-Mint? You can't do that.

-That's awful.-Oh, don't worry.

All the lead in the water hassinged off all their taste buds.

-They can't tell the difference.-(laughter)

Well, look, I mean, I guessI have to give you credit.

At least you're making the bestof a tough situation.

Oh, yeah,like I tell the kids, Larry.

When life gives you lemons,don't you dare make lemonade

'cause that (bleep)will kill you.

-(laughter, applause & cheering)-Very good point. -Mm-hmm.

-That's a very good point.-Mm.

-Now that makes a lot of sense.That make.... Oh. -Mm-hmm.

Hey, that actuallylooks refreshing.

-What is that?-Mayonnaise.

-Oh.-(laughter, applause) -Mm.

See? I'm making it work.

Yes, you are making it work.

Glenda Jones,ladies and gentlemen.

-(cheers and applause)-We'll be right back. That's it.