Wilmore Signs Off: ‘I’m Not Done Yet’

Larry Wilmore Thursday night anchored his last edition of The Nightly Show, which was cancelled by Comedy Central.

Wilmore opened the show noting that “it’s never easy when your television show gets cancelled, but I have to tell you there’s a silver lining you guys: all the free booze.” He received bottles from former Comedy Central colleagues—whose shows are still on the air on competing networks—Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.

TheDaily Show sent pastries, he noted, with some disapproval.

Former Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart, whose company produced Nightly, appeared on the show, feigning surprise at the cancellation. “What? Did you piss off Peter Thiel,” he said, referring to the Silicon Valley billionaire who backed the lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker.

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Stewart told Wilmore not to confuse cancellation with failure. “You gave voice to an underserved voice in the media area,” and called the show “raw and poignant and funny and smart,” Stewart said. “You started a conversation that was not on television when you began. You walk out of this room and that conversation doesn’t end.”

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Wilmore thanked his staff, who reminisced about working on the show, the show's fans and even embraced the passion of the shows haters.

Wilmore said he’s frequently asked about a map on the show’s set that’s hung upside down. He said it was a sign that he wanted people to “see the world in a way that may not make everybody comfortable, and to present it with a cast of people who don’t always get to have a voice. On that front, I couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished.”

Then he signed off bravely, saying: “I’m not done yet.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.