Longtime “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart signed off on a final episode on Aug. 6, ending his tenure of more than 16 years as the head of the show.
Stewart, who has hosted the Comedy Central program through multiple presidential elections, announced earlier this year that he would be leaving the show. He had taken a break from the show during the summer of 2013, during which time John Oliver served as guest host.
“This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you,” Stewart said when announcing his departure.
“Daily Show” correspondent Trevor Noah is taking over as host and is set to start this September.
Stewart’s final episode included many special appearances and also poked fun at the fact that the GOP presidential debates in Ohio were airing the same night. Stewart said he “[felt] a responsibility… to devote the entirety of our last show to our standard post-debate full team coverage.” However, the segment was really a way for various correspondents to chat with Stewart – poking fun at the current large number of Republican candidates, Stewart lamented that the show couldn’t cover all of them, but then correspondents who served on the show previously like Steve Carell, Samantha Bee, and Lewis Black appeared to volunteer. The show also pretended to go to New York City and Washington, D.C., among other locales, to show various former correspondents.
Stephen Colbert, who also served as a correspondent, hosted the Comedy Central program “The Colbert Report,” and will now host the CBS program “Late Show,” also praised Stewart.
“I have been asked and have the privilege to say something to you,” Colbert told Stewart. “All of us who were lucky enough to work with you for 16 years are better at our jobs because we got to watch you do yours and we are better people for having known you.”
Stewart himself thanked his co-workers, Comedy Central, his viewers, and his family and told viewers to beware of people “making bad things sound like good things… hiding the bad things” and the people who say “we can’t do anything because we don’t yet know everything.”
Musician Bruce Springsteen, whom Stewart has said is a favorite of his, also popped up to perform.
Since his iteration of the show debuted, Stewart’s “Daily Show” has become an important part of political culture – a recent study found that 11 percent of adults 18 to 29 trusted the program and Colbert’s show “The Colbert Report” the most of any news source. At times, Stewart himself influenced policy, as when he drew attention to a bill giving federal money to the health care of 9/11 responders.
“An artist I really admire once said that he thinks of his career as a long conversation with the audience,” Stewart said near the end of the show. “A dialogue. And I really like that metaphor for many different reasons. But the main one is because it takes away the idea of finality... This show isn’t ending. We’re merely taking a small pause in the conversation.”