Stewart wasted no time kicking off the hour’s epic reunion, bringing out the likes of Samantha Bee, Kristen Schaal and little-known actor Steve Carell.
A flurry of Stewart’s political friends and enemies also showed up to toast his goodbye, from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel (“What has nine-and-a-half fingers and won't miss you at all?” he asked) to Hillary Clinton, who called Stewart’s departure a straight-up “bummer.”
But no political cameo was greater than that of John McCain, who — with the assistance of his Jon Stewart puppet — bid the host adieu with this loving sentiment: “So long, jackass!”
“Show business god” Josh Gad stopped by for a Frozen-style serenade: “Do you want to leave the show, man?” (My only complaint: Why couldn’t it have been a duet?)
Darth Vader also had a bone to pick with Stewart for comparing him to Dick Cheney, which he considers to be “way harsh.” As he explained, “There's the Dark Side, and then there's whatever he calls his Sith thing.”
Larry Wilmore paid Stewart a visit out of sheer boredom, as he had “nothing else to do now that The Nightly Show got bumped. … Black shows matter, Jon!”
Wilmore then used a magic trick to connect Stewart with former correspondent Jason Jones. (Hey, did you know Jones has a new show coming out? On TBS? Called The Detour?)
Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver also returned — doing a little jig, no less — to thank Stewart for being a mentor. (And to ask him important questions that people on HBO don’t understand, like, “What the f–k is a commercial?”)
The evening also featured a personal reunion for former correspondent Rob Corddry and his brother Nate. (Remember him? Rob doesn’t, apparently.)
It was nice of Ed Helms to take time out of his Vacation to say goodbye to Stewart. (See what I did there? … Oh, you saw it, but it just wasn’t funny? … Sorry about that.)
This face pretty much sums up Stephen Colbert’s visit to his old pal Stewart — or, more specifically, the Frodo to his Sam. “You can’t possibly leave without saying goodbye to your Sam,” Colbert said, before launching into a frighteningly accurate comparison of The Daily Show to The Lord of the Rings.
A personal favorite moment was the awkward exchange between Stewart and Wyatt Cenec, with whom Stewart now-famously argued over his impression of Herman Cain. It was genuinely difficult to tell if the two were being serious, as Stewart asked if Cenec (who was across the street) was going to come by and say hello. (He didn’t.)
Olivia Munn dropped by, cake in hand, ready to celebrate what she believed to be Stewart’s 70th birthday…
…a belief apparently shared by Rob Riggle, who physically demonstrated how “frail” the exiting host is.
Lastly, from one Boss to another, Bruce Springsteen brought Stewart’s time on The Daily Show to its rockin’, emotional conclusion.