Even though fans have known for months that Jon Stewart would be taping his final 'Daily Show' on Thursday, it may take a few weeks for viewers to fully adjust to not having their favorite satirist around four nights a week. Anyone who took a peek at Comedy Central's #JonVoyage hashtag this week was greeted with memories and a sadness that seemed quite genuine.
Given all of that, it was probably no surprise that Stewart's final show had a reflective, emotional air and felt at times like a combination of a family reunion, a retirement party and a career retrospective.
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Over the course of Stewart's 16 and a half year tenure at the Daily Show, viewers have gotten used to seeing correspondents come and go and on Thursday, we got to see nearly all of them return to the set one last time. While it's always thrilling to see familiar faces like Samantha Bee, Steve Carell (!!), John Hodgeman and Aasif Mandvi make their requisite cameos, two moments were particularly poignant.
The first was when former Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac was among those who appeared during the 'reunion' portion. "Wyatt? Wyatt, are you across the street?" Stewart asked the Brooklyn-born comic (who was then shown outside of the Daily Show's Hell's Kitchen studio.)
Cenac made headlines earlier this summer when he revealed he often had a tense relationship with Stewart and noted he was once screamed at by the host when he objected to a joke about race.
"My social media is blowing up right now," Cenac noted.
After a beat of silence, Stewart asked his former correspondent if he would come inside. "Wyatt, are we good?" he asked, clearly referring to the controversy. "Yeah, we're good," Cenac replied.
As one might expect, the second poignant moment came from none other than Stephen Colbert. In a mini-monologue laden with emotion, Colbert thanked a visibly uncomfortable, emotional Stewart for the difference that he made in the lives of so many of his former staffers.
Noting that Stewart always told him not to thank him for anything, he still proceeded to do so. "We owe you because we learned from you," Colbert noted. You are infuriatingly good at your job.We are lucky to work with you and we're better at your jobs because we got to work with you."
Of course, a proud Jersey boy like Stewart had to have a very Jersey sendoff for his very last 'Moment of Zen.' It had been rumored for days that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would send off the host and those rumors proved to be true when the host threw to the singer at the very end of the show.
Thanks for everything, Jon," said Springsteen before launching into his first song. "We wish you happy and safe travels."
Then, as The Boss launched into 'Born to Run,' staff members crowded the stage to exchange hugs and whispered words before the credits rolled for the last time. It was a fitting send off for a show that changed the way many of us think about television news and the power of celebrity.
Lakshmi Gandhi is Metro's social media manager. Follow her on Twitter at @LakshmiGandhi.