Jon Stewart crashed the final episode of The Nightly Show to bid farewell to Larry Wilmore and praise the host for his contributions to late-night television. "A very wise man said to me, 'Do not confuse cancellation with failure.' What you, my friend, were tasked to do, you have done and done beautifully," Stewart said.
"You gave voice to underserved voices in the media arena, and you did it," Stewart told the Daily Show's former "Senior Black Correspondent." "It was a show that was raw and poignant and funny and smart and all those things."
On Monday, Comedy Central announced that Thursday would mark the final episode of The Nightly Show after a 20-month run in the post-Daily Show spot formerly occupied by The Colbert Report. In explaining the abrupt cancellation, Comedy Central president Kent Alterman remarked that The Nightly Show "hasn't connected with our audience in ways that we need it to," a remark that Stewart took umbrage with Thursday night.
"Did you resonate with an audience? I would say not only that, but in an important way, in a way that you don't realize yet and won't reveal itself for years to come, and it's this: You started a conversation that was not on television when you began," Stewart said.
"And you worked with a group of people who you invited to that conversation to collaborate with you, to sharpen that conversation, and what you don't realize is, you walk out of this room, and that conversation doesn't end," he added. "And all the people that you worked with are gonna take what they learned here and what they learned from you and the beautiful experience that they had, and you're going to start seeing them doing things in the business as well… you're going to watch that flourish, and that's gonna have you on it."