The Good Times Are Over: Jon Stewart Bids The Daily Show Farewell With a Star-Filled Goodbye

After more than 16 years of exasperation, mirth, and downright anger directed toward American politics, Jon Stewart sat behind the desk for his final episode of The Daily Show Thursday night. But rather than going out with an embodiment of what the show was known for—offering an informed, yet humorous take on the current state of global affairs—Stewart’s last 45 minutes were, in large part, essentially a montage of… well, everyone that’s been associated with the show, even peripherally, since its incarnation. 

What started as an amusing segment featuring former correspondents covering the just-completed Republican presidential debate quickly nosedived into a drawn-out parade of Stewart’s current and former colleagues—including John Oliver, Lewis Black, Kristen Schaal, John Hodgman, Larry Widmore, Steve Carell, Rob Corddry, Josh Gad, Olivia Munn, Ed Helms, and Samantha Bee, just to name a small fraction—bidding him goodbye. That took up the first 25 minutes of the episode. 

But the brief, rapid-fire cameos built up to the standout moment: An extended monologue from Stephen Colbert that started with a metaphor comparing himself and Stewart to Sam and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings and culminated with a touching tribute to his former boss, and left Stewart in tears.

"We owe you, because we learned from you," Colbert told Stewart. "You are infuriatingly good at your job, and all of us, 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’s replacement, Trevor Noah, also made an appearance, measuring the dimensions of the set to make sure it fit his specifications. Stewart’s predecessor, Craig Kilborn, also showed up briefly. And politicians including Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Lindsey Graham, John Kerry, and John McCain, as well as fellow news commentators Bill O’Reilly and Wolf Blitzer, also bid farewell to Stewart in a pre-taped segment.

The second half of the episode turned the tables and allowed Stewart to pay tribute to his staff with a pre-taped short film—which, truth be told, played mostly like an inside joke among a group of colleagues, with the audience left mostly in the dark. 

“The thing I’m going to miss most about this place is the people I work with,” Stewart said as he introduced the segment, getting choked up again. "This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and I’ll never have that again."

Stewart struggled to keep his emotions in check for most of the episode, no more so than in his final monologue, the topic of which was, well, bullshit. 

"Bullshit is everywhere,” Stewart began. “There is very little that you will encounter in life that has not been in some ways infused with bullshit. … So whenever something’s been titled ‘Freedom,’ ‘Family,’ ‘Fairness,’ ‘Health,’ ‘America,’ take a good, long sniff. Chances are it’s been manufactured in a facility that may contain traces of bullshit.”

“The good news is this,” he continued. “Bullshitters have gotten pretty lazy, and their work is easily detected. Looking for it is kind of a pleasant way to pass the time, like an Eye Spy of bullshit. So I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.” 

Stewart then thanked his staff, his audience, his wife, and kids, and offered these final words: “This is just a conversation. This show isn’t ending. We’re merely taking a small pause in the conversation—a conversation which, by the way, I have hogged. And I apologize for that. … So, rather than saying goodbye or good night, I’m just going to say, I’m going to go get a drink. And I’m sure I’ll see you guys before I leave.”

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band then closed out the episode, dedicating a performance of “Land of Hope and Dreams” to Stewart.

And there we have it. While it was a bit of a slog, Stewart’s final Daily Show, in a way, was a stark forecast of the void he will leave behind now that he’s officially departed. The segments were undoubtedly a touching tribute for those involved, and longtime fans surely welcomed seeing some of their old favorites back in the studio. But it’s also certain that that more than a handful of viewers were most keen to hear Stewart’s breakdown of the debate that had just taken place—and the absence of this (due to the bulk of the show being taped Thursday afternoon) was a depressing reminder that, in what’s sure to be 14 months chock-full of political shenanigans, there will be one important voice missing from the analysis.

What did you think of the final episode of The Daily Show

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Aug 26, 2015
Daily Show Jon Stewart is a down right talented political comedic genius. Although he was very politically minded, the show allowed him the freedoms that other news stations didn't. If you had the chance, wouldn't you? Smart dude and Trevor Noah does have some shoes to fill but he is a great comedian who I think can give us a different perspective and will quickly win people over.
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Aug 11, 2015
I hope Jon Oliver takes up the slack
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Aug 10, 2015
Jon Stewart's final show was great. There were many truly terrific moments from Stephen Colbert's very kind words to Jon, Jon's terrific parting words to his fans and friends and of course the excellent performance from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. As it has been pointed out by other comments posted here, Trevor Noah does have some big shoes to fill. However I think he will do well. We will find out just how well he will do starting September 28.
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Aug 08, 2015
Trevor Noah has enormous shoes to fill but I'm sure that he'll do a great job and give the show a new vibe.

However, Jon Stewart will be dearly dearly missed on the show. I hope that he gets all the relaxation that he deserves and that we see him again soon.

The last episode was truly touching. Thanks to the Daily show team for all the fun, all these years.
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Aug 08, 2015
Man, he better run for President.
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Aug 07, 2015


That was amazing.
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Aug 08, 2015
on the left of this picture is a pretty brunette in a silver dress. The guy behind her rubbed himself on her ass a little too close. Just sayin' :-)
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Aug 08, 2015
I noticed that too. But then, Olivia Munn does have a nice ass. ;)
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Aug 08, 2015
Olivia Munn has nice everything really.

And really sad to see Jon go off air. It's been a pleasure even from Finland to watch this funny man do his thing.
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Aug 09, 2015
Olivia Munn has nice everything really

+1
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Aug 07, 2015
That "Goodfellas" shot, featuring Mr. Marty S. himself ...
Pretty damn good.

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Aug 07, 2015
Thanks, Jon.
I hope you find a new outlet, for that fantastic voice of yours, soon.

"You are infuriatingly good at your job", indeed.

He shoulda' stayed on through one last election.
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Aug 07, 2015
Colbert is funny.
Stewart is not.

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Aug 08, 2015
Stewart is a little too subtle for you,I get it. You don't have a refined sense of humour, that's alright, not all people have that. you probably think Bill Maher is funnier too.
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Aug 08, 2015
Your post is subtle humor... right?
You make me feel so inadequate with my lack of a refined sense of humor. I just don't get some of that subtle humor like Monty Python.
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Aug 07, 2015
Everyone is entitled to their opinion though I expect most people to disagree with you.
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Aug 07, 2015
Agree. Of the people who followed Stewart I expect most of them to disagree with me, obviously, but that is a small subset of people who watch TV.
Colbert is smart and clever and I enjoy him even if I don't share some of his views. Stewart is not Colbert... in my opinion.
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Aug 07, 2015
If you want a best of montage go online and watch the video clips. This was a tremendous episode. The people matter just as much as the commentary and you don't get to see them very often anymore. It was a more than fitting tribute from a lot of people who owed Jon so much. Without him they may have gone unrecognized completely. I loved every minute of it. It did not "slog" at all. This show will never be the same, and I will miss him dearly. I'm just thanking my lucky stars that within that group of "everyone that’s been associated with the show, even peripherally, since its incarnation." is John Oliver-who will continue to carry the torch that Jon lit on his HBO show.
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Aug 07, 2015
I'm going to miss Jon Stewart! The final show was good, it was about what I expected from a goodbye show. I'm really sad that he didn't stick around through the election, but I perhaps Trevor Noah will do it justice.
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Aug 07, 2015
As a foreigner. I was never that in to American politics. Thanks to this show I know more about the American politics then I do about my own government. The way he brought the items to the screen was not only very refreshing, but also honest. I for one shall miss him derly
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Aug 07, 2015
If you think that Stewart's show was an education then you must of been impressed by WW2 Germany news.
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Aug 07, 2015
I think you have that the other way round. Stewart's voice was a very important critical counterpart to the populist fundamentalist religious bullshit of most GOP leaders.
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Aug 07, 2015
You have the right to your opinion since this is America.
And so do I...
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Aug 08, 2015
lina17, Sorry if you believe that Stewart's view of the world represents anything other than his own political views.
He represented one side of the argument, which is OK since it is his show, but it is naive to believe it is more than that.
As far as the WW2 reference I recently finished watching some WW2 and Nazi Germany series on the History Channel. Mass Media was used to mold opinions. We need to be careful that we don't go down that path, even if it fed to us in entertaining ways.
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Aug 08, 2015
Actually this is the internet. Jon Stewart has fans all around the world for the simple reason that he showed us all clear and concise versions of some of the most important issues in America and in the world in general. He did it in an honest and funny way. Few people who actually watched the show would say that they never learnt anything from it.

While you do have the right to your opinion maybe this isn't the right place or time. Especially if you're going to compare a liberal, blatantly open minded tv show to Nazi Germany.
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Aug 07, 2015
I don´t live in the USA. I will like to know, how does Jon Stewart compares to David Letterman for you people. Thanks.
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Aug 07, 2015
Letterman was very funny at the beginning but he got too jaded around the time he moved from NBC to CBS and his show lost most of its fun. That is why Jon Stewart is smart to get out when he did as people will remember him as funny since he didn't stay around long enough for his frustration with American politics/news to overtake his show.
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Aug 07, 2015
thanks :)
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Aug 07, 2015
In the early days I thought Letterman was great but over the years he went downhill. The downhill part is what Letterman and Stewart have in common.
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Aug 09, 2015
I liked better David Letterman, who I think is more popular in Europe. Maybe is because there is not so much staff about American Politics, which I (and others) don´t really understand or care much. But I do get it that Jon Stewart was (is) an important part of the society regarding news and politics in the daily life.
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Aug 07, 2015
Now more promos with Seth Rollins please
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Aug 07, 2015
It's amazing what emotional connection you build with a bunch of strangers from the other side of an ocean making jokes from a television computer screen about politicians governing another country.

Great and touching final show. Enjoy your death retirement, Stu.
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Aug 07, 2015
While Trevor Noah will be "replacing" Stewart on The Daily Show, I'd say his true, spiritual successor is John Oliverand Last Week Tonight.

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Aug 07, 2015
You are probably right but I hope Colbert is allowed to use his amazing talents on CBS though network TV will push him to stay politically correct.
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Aug 07, 2015
Happy retirement, Jonathan.


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Aug 07, 2015
A very, very nice "retirement party" and tribute. It really is the end of an era, as all the top names appearing certainly testified. Not only former "correspondents" like Colbert and Oliver, but even politicians, including current presidential candidate(s), capped by a performance by Bruce effing Springsteen.

During the the taped segment with Fox News personalities and politicians, I was reminded of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a really nice twist on the "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him" vibe. Classic and classy.
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Aug 07, 2015
It was perfect and I'm struggling to keep my emotions in check. The idea that it should have focused on the Republican debate is pretty ludicrous. You do realize the debate started after they had to have the show already taped? They never covered these things on the same night, it was always the day after. This whole article's a bit off the mark. Off course the show had to feature the correspondents, they were such a big part of the show and remain its legacy, and it was incredibly insightful to see behind the scenes.

Jon's a once in a generation talent, it'll be a long time before we see anyone this good again. Of course he deserves a rest but I hope he doesn't stay out of the entertainment sphere for too long.
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Aug 07, 2015
here will be one important voice missing from the analysis.

Amen. When Mr. Asshole Combover gets the nomination and is mano a mano with Mr. Hillary, his Indecision Reports will be missed. His replacement is no better than Colbert's or Craig Ferguson's.

The show was okay, I liked Colbert et al's rendition of We'll Meet Again more.
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Aug 07, 2015
Great job John and all of the Daily Show team!!! Thanks for all those years of quality TV😅
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Aug 07, 2015
It was all very heartfelt and touching. Probably not the final show I would have wanted, but it still allowed Jon to go out on a high note.

Damn I'm gonna miss him. Trevor Noah has an awful burden on his shoulders when he takes over next month.
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Aug 07, 2015
There will never be another like Jon.
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Aug 07, 2015
As an American, we deperately need shows like this to keep all on their toes! if not, who will?
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Aug 07, 2015
Any country really, just to see that "the Americans" are not a single collective, conservative mind.
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Aug 07, 2015
It's not just Americans who will miss the show in its current format. John was very popular with some of us Brits too. Looking forward to seeing him unrestrained doing standup and good luck Trev
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Aug 07, 2015
Can't believe Craig Kilborn came back.
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Aug 07, 2015
Tramps like us, baby, we born to run..
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