Larry Wilmore
Larry Wilmore (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

NEW YORK  — 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.

Stewart, a producer of "The Nightly Show," featured Wilmore as "Senior Black Correspondent" when he was hosting "The Daily Show."

In January 2015, Wilmore's program filled the slot vacated by Stephen Colbert when he jumped to CBS. The show sought to explore current events and life issues from the perspective of African-Americans and other groups typically underrepresented on talk shows.

"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.

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

"Do not confuse cancellation with failure, Stewart advised Wilmore.

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.

"It was a show that was raw, and poignant and funny and smart and all of those things and you did it from scratch," he said.

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