8:58pm PT by Jennifer Konerman
Jon Stewart Joins Larry Wilmore for Final 'Nightly Show'
The Daily Show's past and The Nightly Show's present converged one last time.
Jon Stewart stopped by Larry Wilmore's final episode of The Nightly Show on Thursday, initially there to take Wilmore's gifted champagne, but he stayed to chat. "What are we doing this week?" he asked, before Wilmore could pass on the bad news that it was his final show.
"Your last show? Oh, my God, what, did you piss off Peter Thiel?" Stewart, an exec producer on the show, joked, giving a nod to the recent Gawker lawsuit; later, he adviced Wilmore: "Do not confuse cancelation with failure."
"What you, my friend, were tasked to do, you have done and done beautifully," he added. "You gave voice to underserved voices in the media arena."
"You started a conversation that was not on television when you began, and you worked with a group of people who you invited to that conversation to collaborate with you, to sharpen that conversation," Stewart said, "and what you don't realize is that when you walk out of here, that conversation doesn't end," he added.
Stewart ended with one final note: "You did it, my...mishpucha" (choosing Yiddish instead of the word Wilmore was visibly worried he might use).
Wilmore worked with Stewart as the "senior black correspondent" when the latter was host of The Daily Show, popping in to share his colorful thoughts on the latest news stories relating to black issues in America.
During his final show on Thursday, Wilmore also addressed the "one thing we can all agree on: Ellen DeGeneres is a pure delight." He discussed the latest debate, whether her recent tweet about Usain Bolt. He turned to his contributors for their takes, but most of them were already on vacation or looking for their next jobs.
"I'm Larry Wilmore, your host for the next 29 minutes," the host began his show. "It's never easy when your television show gets canceled, but for me, there has been a silver lining, you guys. All the free booze!"
Wilmore has been getting gifts all week from his fellow late-night hosts, including today's pastries from The Daily Show, and wine and liquor earlier this week.
The host received some "basic-cable wine" from Full Frontal's Samantha Bee, which led Wilmore to tell the audience Wednesday that "I was going to do the show sober, but then Colbert sent this," showing a photo that he posted earlier on Instagram of himself surrounded by mini bottles of alcohol, a gift from The Late Show's Stephen Colbert, which he brought out for his show guests. "You gotta step it up Last Week Tonight — daddy needs more juice," he called out John Oliver's HBO series. (Oliver later sent him champagne with a note that encouraged Wilmore to get "premium cable wasted").
Former Daily Show colleague Lewis Black appeared with Wilmore on Wednesday's episode to talk about Donald Trump and his thoughts on the Republican party.
"As soon as he said, 'Mexicans … borders … pillaging … they're eating all the avocados and there's no shrimp dip!' — as soon as he said that, any party with any moral compass whatsoever would say, 'You can run; you just can't run as a Republican,'" said Black. "That was the moment in time people began to watch, thinking, 'Oh, this'll be great. This'll be f—ing fun to watch.'"
Comedy Central announced the cancelation of The Nightly Show on Monday. "Unfortunately, it hasn't connected with our audience in ways that we need it to," network president Kent Alterman told The Hollywood Reporter. The series, which has aired for two seasons, averaged a night-of rating of 0.2 in the 18-49 demo.
On Monday, the host addressed the show's cancelation in the opening of the show, joking that "on the plus side, our show going off the air has to mean one thing: Racism is solved. We did it."
"I'm really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and our fans to have had this opportunity," Wilmore told THR. "But I'm also saddened and surprised we won't be covering this crazy election or "The Unblackening" as we've coined it. And keeping it 100 [a reference to his mantra], I guess I hadn't counted on "The Unblackening" happening to my time slot as well."
Wilmore is also an executive producer on ABC's Black-ish, and began at the Viacom-owned network in 2006 as the "senior black correspondent" on The Daily Show. Chris Hardwick's @Midnight will slide into the 11:30 p.m. slot as a temporary replacement on Comedy Central.