“Rather than saying goodbye or goodnight, I’m going to say ‘I’m going to get a drink and I’m sure I’m going to see you guys before I leave.’”
Last night, Jon Stewart ended his sixteen-year reign as the leader of The Daily Show in the best way that he could—by thanking all of the people who helped make the show a four-night-a-week staple in so many homes across the country. Within the hour-long send-off, Stewart tried to complete a piece about that night’s GOP debate but, fortunately, kept getting interrupted by past TDS correspondents (including Steve Carell, Samantha Bee, John Hodgman, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, Matt Walsh, Rob and Nate Corddry, Olivia Munn, and many more), who were all just waiting in the wings of the studio for their next assignment from the master.
Each familiar face brought a great joke with them, but no one had a better speech for Stewart’s final night than Stephen Colbert who took the time to actually thank the Daily Show host for the entire cast and crew (after comparing him to Frodo from Lord of the Rings): “I know you are not asking for this, but on behalf of so many people whose lives you changed over the last sixteen years, thank you.”
The night was filled with misty eyes, but the emotional floodgates never really opened during the broadcast because Stewart had to give out one more piece of wisdom to the viewers—be on the lookout for bullshit: “So I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.”
After everything was said and done, Stewart had one last task—to give us our final Moment of Zen. Instead of his standard clip of a monkey washing a cat, Stewart opted for a live performance by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. The group launched into a medley for the departing host that ended in the final verse of Springsteen’s classic “Born to Run.” There was nothing left to do but say thank you again, which Stewart did surrounded by his family and friends. Then it was time for the tears.
Watch Stewart’s send-off below. We will miss you, Jon.