It’s the end of an era.
On Thursday night’s special extended episode, dozens of Stewart’s past employees-turned-famous-friends stopped by to bid him adieu.
“I’ve got big news,” Stewart said at the top of the show. “This is it. This is the final episode.”
As his current correspondents launched into a skit about the night’s earlier Republican debate, past correspondents and pals started popping up out of the woodwork.
Former correspondent Steve Carell made an appearance, telling Stewart, “Becoming an international superstar is just something I did while waiting for my next assignment.”
Other stars, including Olivia Munn, Ed Helms and even Darth Vader showed up for the send-off. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton expressed her remorse in a taped segment, saying, “And just when I’m running for President, what a bummer!”
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But it was Stewart’s most famous protégé, Stephen Colbert, who brought on the emotions. After hilariously comparing Stewart to Frodo from Lord of the Rings – “You are leaving us on a voyage to the dying lands” – the new Late Show host moved Stewart to tears. “We owe you because we learned from you,” Colbert said. “You are infuriatingly good at your job.”
After doing some thanking of his own – and asking his replacement Trevor Noah to hold off on taking measurements of the stage – Stewart took the audience on a trip through the Daily Show offices.
To close out the night, and Stewart’s legendary stint as host, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band serenaded the star as his family and entire cast and crew joined him dancing on stage.
“This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been,” Stewart said. “I’ll never have that again.”