Jon Stewart gives Larry Wilmore a warm send-off on "The Nightly Show"

Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore appear on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on August 6, 2015 in New York City. 

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Jon Stewart gave a heartfelt send-off to Larry Wilmore Thursday as “The Nightly Show” ended its 19-month run.

“I just decided to stop by and tell you I love you,” Stewart said to Wilmore as the audience cheered.

“What you, my friend, were tasked to do, you have done and done beautifully. You gave voice to underserved voices in the media arena,” Stewart said.

Stewart, a producer of “The Nightly Show,” first introduced audiences to Wilmore when he was hosting “The Daily Show” by featuring the comic as the show’s “Senior Black Correspondent.” 

In January 2015, Wilmore’s show launched to fill the “Colbert Report” time slot after Stephen Colbert headed to CBS to take over for David Letterman. “The Nightly Show” sought to explore current events and life issues from the perspective of African-Americans and other groups typically underrepresented on talk shows.

But audience acceptance of “The Nightly Show” never approached its “Daily Show” lead-in, and Comedy Central announced its cancellation earlier this week.

Stewart, who vacated as host of “The Daily Show” in August 2015 after 16 years, encouragingly told Wilmore that he took something and made it better every day.

“Do not confuse cancellation with failure,” Stewart advised Wilmore. “It was a show that was raw, and poignant and funny and smart and all of those things, and you did it from scratch.”