After all of the joking by Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show writers and contributors about how they didn’t expect to still be working on their final day with Comedy Central, Wilmore welcomed an interruption from Jon Stewart.
It was Stewart’s idea for Wilmore to break off from The Daily Show to host his own late-night half-hour satire following the end of The Colbert Report. And Stewart had experienced the heartbreak of TV cancellation before he found his biggest success to date with TDS. Although as Stewart explained to Wilmore in a poignant pep talk, there was another way to look at the end of one chapter in his career.
“A very wise man said to me, ‘Do not confuse cancellation with failure.’ And I took that to heart. So I will say this. What you my friend were tasked to do, you have done, and done beautifully. You gave voice to underserved voices in the media arena, and you did it – it was a show that was raw and poignant and funny and smart and all of those things. And you did it from scratch. And what you and Rory (Albanese) and Robin (Thede) and your tremendous collaborators, and Dre in the booth. You took something and got better every fucking day. Every one. And I think that, we talk about a little thing called, I guess the word some would use is resonance. Did you resonate with an audience? I would say not only that in an important way, but that you don’t even 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. And you worked with a group of people whom you’ve 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. And all the people that you worked with are going to take what they learned here, and what they learned from you, and the beautiful experience that they had – and you’re going to start to see them doing things in the business as well, and taking that, and taking other experiences, and you’re going to watch that flourish. And that’s going to have you on it.”
Wilmore has consulting, producing and writing gigs in both network and cable TV to refocus his energies, and certainly, some of his Nightly Show contributors will move on to even bigger and better things in their own comedy careers. I’m looking forward to seeing them continue this conversation.
Roll the clips.
And here was Larry Wilmore’s final goodbye to his Nightly Show audience, keeping it 100.