After nearly 17 years of bettering Americans’ lives with his wit and wisdom, Jon Stewart said #JonVoyage to The Daily Show on Thursday, leaving an epic legacy (and one final lesson about the dangers of bulls–t) in his wake.
That said, it might not have been the final hour many longtime viewers were anticipating — at least not at first.
“Even though it’s our last night on the air, I feel a responsibility, nay, an obligation to devote the entirety of our last show to our standard post-debate full-team coverage,” Stewart said at the top of the hour, preparing to introduce his team of three correspondents for the evening.
Well, that team of “three” quickly grew into a seemingly never-ending parade of familiar Daily Show faces — from Stephen Colbert to Olivia Munn, Josh Gad to Samantha Bee, and John Oliver to Gitmo (the least popular Sesame Street Muppet, as you might recall). It turns out they’ve all just been “waiting around” since their individual departures.
After an incredible speech about bulls–t (“If you smell something, say something”), Stewart closed his final hour with a heartfelt message of gratitude for Comedy Central, his family and the audience. He also left grieving fans with a bit of hope:
An artist I really admire once said he thinks of his career as a long conversation with the audience, and I really like that metaphor … because it takes away the idea of finality. This show isn’t ending. We’re merely taking a small pause in the conversation. Rather than saying goodbye or goodnight, I’m going to say, ‘I’m going to go get a drink.’ Hopefully I’ll see you guys before I leave. That’s our show. Thank you so much for the privilege of being able to do it.
As for Stewart’s final Moment of Zen? Two words: Bruce. Springsteen.
Your thoughts on Stewart’s final bow? Browse our gallery of the best moments below, then grade the episode and drop a comment with your full response.