Despite Comedy Central’s seeming non-enthusiasm about the accomplishments of “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore,” former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart sang Wilmore’s praises on “The Nightly Show’s” final episode last night (August 18). Stewart discussed the show’s role in empowering marginalized voices:
“What you, my friend, were tasked to do, you have done, and done beautifully,” Stewart—”The Nightly Show’s” creator and co-producer—told his former “The Daily Show” colleague. “You gave voice to the 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. You did it from scratch.”
Stewart elaborated by talking about the seeds “The Nightly Show” planted, both through conversations about race and the diverse writing staff. “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. 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 work with are going 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 do things in the business as well, and taking that and other experiences, and you’re going to watch that flourish. And that’s going to have you on it.”
Stewart concluded with a reference to Wilmore’s infamous N-word from this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner speech.
Wilmore hit home on that point in his closing monologue as well, addressing a question that he frequently received about why the world map on his set is upside-down:
You see, upside-down is just an opinion. If you’re floating in space, the Earth could take on any orientation. But as a culture, we’ve all agreed with the opinion that the would should be seen in a certain way. So at “The Nightly Show,” our chief mission was to disagree with that premise, and to see the world in a way [audience cheers] that may not make everybody comfortable. And to present it with a cast of people that don’t always get to have a voice in that.
Those two segments bookended both a recap of the show’s best correspondent segments and a roundtable with several of the show’s writers and correspondents—Franchesca Ramsey, Holly Walker, Rory Albanese, Robin Thede, Jordan Carlos and Grace Parra—reflecting on the show’s run before its abrupt cancellation this week.
Watch the touching full episode here, and let us know your favorite “The Nightly Show” moments in the comments.