Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show after almost 2,600 episodes and 16 years on the air. Thursday marks Stewart’s last and final “Moment of Zen,” and is set to air on its usual time, 11p.m. ET on Comedy Central.
This week’s final episodes featured Amy Schumer, Louis CK, and Denis Leary, who makes his 17th appearance on the show.
Leary says The Daily Show was Stewart’s calling.
“He can be goofy, angry, bitter, silly, an smart, all in the same bit. Which is what he was always about, Leary said. “The gift Jon got from The Daily Show, and the one that he gave back to it was, ‘I’m taking the world, rolling it into a half-hour ball and throwing it back in your face.”
The 52-year-old comedian has educated us on the news, given his political opinions, criticized the media’s reporting, and cracked jokes on all of it throughout the years. The only thing he wasn’t joking about was his hatred for Arby’s and Fox News Channel, and his deep love for Bruce Springsteen and the New York Mets.
But, after all this time, Stewart admitted he needed more “flexibility.” The road to departure started when the star took a break in the summer of 2013 to direct Rosewater, a film about an imprisoned Iranian journalist. Although he has been offered slots for more traditional late-night talk shows, he has declined them all, stating that interviewing celebrities was his least favorite job. Being more about the comedy of the show, there are rumors he may return to stand-up comedy.
In the in-between of deciding what to do next, Stewart will be living on his new farm in New Jersey, spending quality time with his wife and children. The farm is also where his wife, Tracey, will be providing a safe haven for abused animals.
Though Stewart masks his well-researched news stories and thought-out analyses with his ever-so-comical satirical commentary, he has risen through the ranks of politics. Of course, he denies all recognition, claiming he really is just a comedian making fun of the news. President Obama has had Stewart visit the Oval Office twice throughout his career, and at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, in Denver, he defended his comedian-only career to guests.
“The whole idea that we’re the beacon of integrity is ridiculous,” he said. “We gat far more attention from you guys than we should.”
“Jon is the ultimate role model in that way, the guy works his ass off,” Ed Helms, who worked on the show from 2002 to 2006, told USA TODAY of the show’s host. “I don’t know what’s next. I’m heartbroken as a fan of the show, but excited to see what happens.”
Last week, Jon Stewart cracked a classic sardonic joke about his departure: “I’ll leave this show knowing that most of the world’s problems have been solved by us, The Daily Show. But sadly, there are some dark corners that our broom of justice had not reached yet.”