Last night, Jon Stewart famously bid farewell to the world as he embarks on a post-Daily Show life of less satire and more living, capping off a 16-year-run as perhaps the single greatest news satirist that ever was. The send-off was a lighthearted yet touching affair that gave Stewart the opportunity to show his appreciation for the deep bench of talent that have shared the Daily Show studios with him over the decade and a half. But in one particular comedian’s case, it was a chance to reconnect with his fellow Daily Show alumni, albeit quite awkwardly, as well as a sort of rapprochement with the late-night titan.
That comedian, of course, was Wyatt Cenac, whose recent appearance on Marc Maron‘s WTF podcast sent all sorts of rap-beef-ish sirens through the internets as a particular clip from the episode was misconstrued for “shots fired” instead of “feelings vented.” If you went by headlines alone, the podcast painted Jon Stewart as an un-self-aware racist, hyperdefensive after Cenac suggested that Stewart’s Herman Cain impression (bordering on modern-day minstrelsy) offended him as the only black man on the writing staff at the time. But now that we have a bit of distance it’s perhaps easier to understand that his anecdote was less about judging Stewart than relating how tough it can be to be the single minority voice in any creative or even merely social setting (beautifully articulated by comedian, commentator and sometime Nightly Show contributor Felonious Munk–scroll down to watch).
In hindsight it seems obvious that Wyatt’s interview should be understood as Wyatt’s story, not Jon Stewart’s race problem. And in that spirit, it seems only right that Cenac was indeed included in #JonVoyage, recognizing his invaluable contribution to the show without faking-nice or deflecting from the very real tensions and injustices that still lie like land-mines beneath the American construction of race. The honest, uncomfortable expression of mutual respect (“We Good?” it’s worth noting, is Marc Maron’s sign off for WTF) in itself was a testament to the show’s legacy, leaving no beef un-squashed (unless you’re one of the major banks, politicians, anchors or Fox News characters that have received the sharper edge of Stewart’s sword over the years.) Watch as Wyatt Cenac and Jon Stewart lay it all awkwardly to rest in the very last episode of The Daily Show below. And while you’re up we recommend you listen to Wyatt’s WTF interview–in its entirety, by hitting the link below.