We’ve solemnly waited for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show departure for months now — and the moment finally came and went in a hilarious and emotional flash.
In a studio filled to the brim with famous guests and one-time correspondents (Stewart seems to have single-handedly spawned more successful careers than Lorne Michaels’ SNL), tears and laughter were not only appropriate, but expected. Nothing felt more emotional, though, than a visit from Stephen Colbert.
The minute The Colbert Report premiered on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart seemed to find both a worthy adversary and a comedic bestie. The two comedians and political commentators spent years batting back and forth during pre and post-show crossovers. Onstage together, their strange bromance could fill a room with sarcasm and laughter, the likes of which television studio audiences had not yet experienced. In their final meet-up on The Daily Show‘s stage, however, there was no place for sarcasm — and even the jokes brought tears.
Ever the nerd, Colbert compared his and Stewart’s political quest to that of Sam and Frodo’s journey to find the rings of power. Height jokes were made, of course. But it was impossible not to turn serious in light of Stewart’s retirement. And, despite Stewart specifically asking that no one thank him, it was Colbert who delivered the gratitude of everyone in the studio and on the millions of couches across the globe.
“Here’s the thing, Jon. You said to me and to many other people here many years ago never to thank you because we owe you nothing,” Colbert shared. “But that is one of the few times I’ve known you to be dead wrong. We owe you — and not just what you did for our career by employing us to come on this tremendous show that you made. We owe you because we learned from you.”
To find out what they learned from Stewart, watch Colbert’s farewell right here.
And, if that doesn’t get you emotional enough, know this: In his last episode, Stewart raised roughly $2.2 million dollars for New York Collaborates for Autism. Money was raised by people donating to the fund in order to win tickets to come to the final show’s taping and hang out with Stewart. The winning donation-giver donated $100, but in total much more was raised for the charity, which Stewart often champions.
As always, he remains a classy and caring guy and we hope he doesn’t escape the public eye for too long.