Jon Stewart now has a firm departure date from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." The comic announced on Monday's broadcast of the program that he will leave the show after its August 6th broadcast.
The disclosure paves the way for the show's new host, Trevor Noah, and suggests that Stewart will not hang around as candidates start to make announcements this year about running in the 2016 election for U.S. President. Stewart had said previously that he would continue to do the program until some time between July and the end of 2015.
Stewart made the announcement at the very end of the evening's broadcast, just before rolling the program's signature "Moment of Zen" final segment. He offered few details about what he might do for his final broadcast, but did reiterate a contest that would give a viewer the chance to attend the program's last taping.
Stewart's announcement sets the stage for Trevor Noah, a South African comic who has hosted a late-night program in that country, to take the reins of the series. Noah is a relative unknown in the United States and has already come under scrutiny for a series of controversial tweets made in past years that were discovered on social media after Comedy Central announced him as Stewart's heir.
The Viacom-owned network and Stewart have both come out in support of Noah, urging audiences to give him a chance before passing judgment on his humor.
“I know there was a large kerfuffle on Twitter," Stewart said, "but I can say this, I think without hesitation: Trevor Noah will earn your trust and respect, or not. Just as I earned your trust and respect, or did not. Because my experience with him is that he is an incredibly thoughtful and considerate and funny and smart individual. And man, I think you give him that time, and it’s going to be well worth it."