Laughs and tears as Jon Stewart hosts last 'Daily Show'
The 52-year-old satirist announced last winter that he was getting restless and that it was time to move on
Jon Stewart has said goodbye to "The Daily Show" on Thursday, America's foremost satirist of politicians and the media ushered out by Bruce Springsteen and a reunion of the many colleagues that he worked with during 16 years as host of the show.
"Guess what? Stewart said. "I've got big news. This is it."
Armed with a razor-sharp wit and a research team adept at finding video evidence of hypocrisy or unintentional comedy among the nation's establishment, Stewart turned a sleepy basic-cable entertainment show into a powerful cultural platform. But the 52-year-old comic announced last winter that he was getting restless and that it was time to move on.
For his finale, he pretended to report on Thursday's Republican presidential debate - which actually happened after the taping - but said he didn't have enough remaining correspondents to talk about all the candidates.
That proved to be the vehicle to bring in a long succession of personalities whose careers were jump-started by Stewart when they were on the show, like Aasif Mandvi, Lewis Black, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Rob Corddry, Samantha Bee and Wyatt Cenac.
Colbert, who begins in September as David Letterman's replacement on CBS' "Late Show," offered the most heartfelt tribute, saying the accomplishments of Stewart's troupe members through the years was a testament to the example he set.
"You were infuriatingly good at your job," Colbert said.
Some of Stewart's comedy targets appeared in cameos to get in a final word. Wolf Blitzer wished him well, while the screen behind him on the CNN set read, "Screw you, Stewart."
Hillary Rodham Clinton bemoaned Stewart leaving "just when I'm running for president. What a bummer."
"So long, jackass," said 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain.