Stewart signed off for the last time on Thursday night after 16 years as host
Credit: Brad Barket/Getty

Legendary Daily Show host Jon Stewart took the anchor seat for the last time on Thursday night after 16½ years – and it didn’t disappoint.

Here are the five best moments from the emotional sign-off episode.

1. Daily Show correspondents provided some post-debate coverage – and a few familiar faces also made an appearance.

In a twist of fate, the final broadcast of the show aired at the same time as a doozy of a Republican presidential debate – a prime Stewart target.

A segment that started out as a parody of debate coverage turned into a parade of former Daily Show writers and contributors, including Steve Carell, Samantha Bee and Jason Jones.

As Stewart expressed his gratitude to Carell for returning, the actor quipped: “I never left, Jon. Becoming an international superstar is just something I did while I was waiting for my next assignment.”

2. "Black shows matter, Jon."

Stewart’s last show was extended by half an hour, bumping The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

Instead, Wilmore made a brief appearance on Stewart’s show: “Thought I’d stop by as I’ve got nothing else to do tonight. The Nightly Show got bumped,” he jokily complained.

“Black shows matter, Jon,” he added.

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3. Sen. John McCain to Stewart: "So long, jackass."

Stewart – who is known for his epic takedowns of the GOP – was in for a treat when some of his targets bid him farewell via video message.

“I’ll never forget you, Jon, but I will be trying,” said one Republican presidential nominee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Sen. John McCain also appeared in a video, mimicking the host with a look-alike puppet: “I’m Jon Stewart, I’m dumb, I’m stupid – so long, jackass.”

Even Hillary Clinton weighed in with a short message: “And just when I’m running for president,” she said. “What a bummer.”

4. Stephen Colbert’s sentimental adieu

After an epic Lord of the Rings rant in which he compared Stewart to Frodo, Stewart’s most famous protégé, Stephen Colbert, struck a emotional chord during his farewell, moving the host to tears.

As Stewart tried to cut to commercial break, Colbert interrupted him to go off-prompter: “We’re not quite done, Jon. It’ll be quick if you just hold still.”

“We owe you we owe you because we learned from you,” he continued. “You are infuriatingly good at your job. All of us who were lucky enough to work with you all of us are better at our jobs, because we got to watch you do yours. And we are better people for having known you. You are a great artist and a good man.”

5. Stewart’s moment of zen: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

The finale concluded with a performance from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – but before the band came on, Stewart delivered his last words.

“This show isn’t ending. We’re merely taking a small pause in the conversation,” said the host. “A conversation which, by the way, I have hogged So rather than saying goodbye, or goodnight, I’m just going to say: I’m going to get a drink, and I’m sure I’ll see you guys before I leave. So here it is – my moment of zen.”