Last night, Jon Stewart hosted his final turn on The Daily Show, marking an end to the 16-year run that turned the nightly satire into a cultural force.
The evening began with a regular report on the GOP debate from earlier in the night, then turned into a revolving door of big names and old friends. They thanked Stewart for his work, gave some advice and made him cry. Much feels.
Vox recapped much of the proceedings:
Fittingly, then, the "star-studded" portion of the evening was right at the top. Beginning with three of the show's current correspondents — Jessica Williams, Hasan Minhaj, and Jordan Klepper — claiming to be on the ground covering the night's Republican debate, the segment grew and grew, until it encompassed essentially every major voice in the show's history, dipping all the way back to figures like Mo Rocca and Vance DeGeneres, from Stewart's very early days, and even working in original Daily Show host Craig Kilborn. It was like the alt-comedy version of This Is Your Life. There was even time for a visit from Stewart's biggest targets.
But the biggest moments were for Oliver and Colbert. The former, now on HBO, gently mocked his old boss for continuing to work within the constraints of basic cable, pretending to have no idea what commercials were. The latter made Stewart tear up, first with an elaborate analogy where Colbert was Sam and Stewart Frodo Baggins, then with a heartfelt speech about how much Stewart had meant to all of them.
All those correspondents had one final story on which to report — a group hug.
Can you feel the fake news love?
Stewart finished the night with an endearing entreaty, imploring everyone to beware the staggering amount of bullsh*t that sits around the world.
My rough transcript of Jon Stewart's extraordinary "bullsh*t is everywhere" speech. pic.twitter.com/guXBbIDD9g— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) August 7, 2015
There was one more final thing that had to happen: Born to Run, performed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
We've known it's been coming for months now, but it's hard to get ready for the end of an era.
Tonight Jon Stewart will come out from behind the desk of The Daily Show and leave the program to his replacement Trevor Noah.
The past couple months have seen remembrance after remembrance, but there's no more putting it off. It's happening.
The final show tonight remains much of a mystery, although there are rumblings that politicians like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Chuck Schumer will make an appearance.
But before he takes that final bow, Stewart wanted to look back at his 16 years of success on the penultimate show last night with his new segment called: "The Daily Show: Destroyer of Worlds".
"What the f*** is going on here?!" Stewart screamed while banging on his desk. "The world is demonstrably worse than when I started. Have I caused this?"
"Hath my efforts all be for naught? As I shuffle off this basic cable coil, must I discover my years of evisceration have bettered nothing? Sixteen years of barbs and jeers spurred none to greatness."
It will be a little bit harder to swallow the bitter pill that is the world without Stewart's sugar coated cynicism to embody the rage we feel night after night. But somehow, we will move forward. <
We're officially at less than a month before John Stewart's last show with The Daily Show and the goodbyes are in full effect.
Prepare for a barrage by the end of the month. But before we have to weed through the mass of well wishes that will surely flood the Internet, this video does nicely.
We're in full-on 'Goodbye Jon Stewart' mode here, people.
As we approach the end of his 16-year run on The Daily Show, which will land in our laps August 6, Comedy Central and the whole of the Internet has begun putting together their collective scrap books to honor the man behind the desk.
This video showcases Stewart's angelic pipes as he sung his way into our hearts for the past decade and a half.