Last night, Jon Stewart hosted his final turn on The Daily Show, marking an end to the 16-year run that turned the nightly satire into a cultural force.
The evening began with a regular report on the GOP debate from earlier in the night, then turned into a revolving door of big names and old friends. They thanked Stewart for his work, gave some advice and made him cry. Much feels.
Fittingly, then, the "star-studded" portion of the evening was right at the top. Beginning with three of the show's current correspondents — Jessica Williams, Hasan Minhaj, and Jordan Klepper — claiming to be on the ground covering the night's Republican debate, the segment grew and grew, until it encompassed essentially every major voice in the show's history, dipping all the way back to figures like Mo Rocca and Vance DeGeneres, from Stewart's very early days, and even working in original Daily Show host Craig Kilborn. It was like the alt-comedy version of This Is Your Life. There was even time for a visit from Stewart's biggest targets.
But the biggest moments were for Oliver and Colbert. The former, now on HBO, gently mocked his old boss for continuing to work within the constraints of basic cable, pretending to have no idea what commercials were. The latter made Stewart tear up, first with an elaborate analogy where Colbert was Sam and Stewart Frodo Baggins, then with a heartfelt speech about how much Stewart had meant to all of them.
All those correspondents had one final story on which to report — a group hug.
Can you feel the fake news love?
Stewart finished the night with an endearing entreaty, imploring everyone to beware the staggering amount of bullsh*t that sits around the world.
Naturally, by 'hottest' I meant comically absurd, hilarious, an unfortunate reflection of the times we live in. But I mean, hey, heal pain through laughter or something like that, right? Stephen Colbert would seem hellbent at keeping up with that memo.