The end of an era has arrived as Jon Stewart has signed off for the last time on The Daily Show Thursday night.
Big-time stars, such as Bruce Springsteen, were featured to help send Stewart off, and emotional tributes were given from former guests and national names such as Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Elmo from Sesame Street.
The Daily Show first aired on Comedy Central in July 1996, originally hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998. Stewart took over as host in January 1999 where he remained until last night.
The show was the second longest-running show on Comedy Central, and won 20 Primetime Emmy Awards and two George Foster Peabody Awards.
Fans of the show took to Twitter wishing Jon Stewart a #JonVoyage. Many stars also wished Jon a fond farewell.
President Obama also honored Jon with his own #JonVoyage message, saying that Stewart is “a great gift to the country.”
The Daily Show concluded with Stewart offering his viewers advice about skepticism, referring to a post-9/11 phrase that helped to sum up his amazing career and impact on the American nation during the 21st century.
“The best defense against bulls— is vigilance. If you smell something, say something.”
Although Jon Stewart will no longer be hosting The Daily Show, Comedy Central says that it will continuing running for years to come. Stewart naturally became emotional as he signed off for the last time. On March 30, they announced that Trevor Noah would be replacing Stewart as the new host.
Stewart’s final episode aired as an hour-long special in three segments. First, a reunion of many of the correspondents and contributors that had previously appeared on the show, plus a pre-recorded mocking of Stewart from various guests. The second segment introduced all of the shoe’s staff and crew, and gave viewers a tour of The Daily Show production location and studio. The show concluded with a short goodbye from Jon Stewart and a performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Fellow Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, host of The Cobert Report, said Jon was “infuriatingly good at [his] job,” and continued by stating: “Those 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.”
Stewart humbly held back tears as he signed off for the last time.
“I can’t thank the people who work here enough. I can’t thank the folk at Comedy Central enough and I can’t thank the audience enough. This show isn’t ending. We are merely taking a small pause in the conversation … a conversation I hogged.”
[Image via Brad Barket / Getty Images]