“My guest tonight ”
On Thursday, Jon Stewart will step out of The Daily Show’s anchor seat for the last time. With 16 years as host under his belt, Stewart has interviewed a plethora of veritable legends, leaders and icons. Some, like Louis C.K. (who will be Stewart’s final guest of the series), joined him in the New York City Comedy Central studios numerous times. Others, like Henry Kissinger, made single (but unforgettable) appearances on the show.
As his final day approaches, we rounded up the most memorable interview from Stewart’s tenure as Daily Show host.
President Barack Obama
Stewart has sat opposite two former United States Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, on his series, but in 2010 President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to be on the Comedy Central staple. In 2005, then Senator Obama chatted with Stewart in the first of what would be seven appearances. Admitting that democrats were “feeling a little frisky” during the Bush presidency, Obama fessed up to worrying about the “hype” of his growing popularity but seemed optimistic about his abilities in government: “If I speak honestly, if I try to work hard and do the best possible job that I can I think that things will work out pretty well,” he said.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Hoffman was a guest on The Daily Show several times between 2003 and his untimely death in 2014. When he stopped by in 2005 to promote Capote, for which he would later win an Academy Award, Stewart called him “the world’s greatest actor.” After Hoffman passed away, a somber Stewart dedicated the Moment of Zen to Hoffman in a heart-wrenching tribute, sharing that he “won’t soon recover” from the “gut-punching” news.
In one of his last public appearances, the Slaughterhouse-Five author joined Stewart to talk about his final work, A Man Without a Country. “As an adolescent he made my life bearable,” Stewart said of the novelist. The admiration was mutual, and 82-year-old Vonnegut praised Stewart for being “enormously popular among the right sort of people.”
Samuel L. Jackson
The Pulp Fiction star was another frequent face at the satirical news desk. During an April 2014 appearance the actor recounted working with George Lucas and green screens on Star Wars. Jackson said the famed director told him during shooting to “kick all the ass you want and we will make sure it looks like you are the baddest motherf—er in the universe.”
In 2014, Hillary Clinton joined Stewart hoping to discuss her book Hard Choices, while the anchor not-so-subtly angled for a straight answer about whether she planned to run for president. Stewart even gave the former Secretary of State an aptitude test to help her decide on her next career move. “Do you prefer to sit in traffic or cause it?” he joked.
Stewart and Fox News’ finest actually have a long-standing onscreen relationship: The O’Reilly Factor host first crossed enemy lines in 2001, and the pair’s discussion of their respective experiences interviewing politicians made for fascinating viewing. Since then, O’Reilly has returned to The Daily Show seven times, and the two hosts have traded jabs between visits.
The youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize gave her first unforgettable interview on The Daily Show in 2013, when the teen education advocate, author and human rights warrior eloquently described the escalation of Taliban rule in her home country of Pakistan. Humbling Stewart and the audience alike, Yousafzai discussed her continuous efforts to improve the lives of children, even after being personally attacked by the terrorist group.
The Ant-Man star has been a guest on the show almost every year since Stewart became host in 1999. Rudd showed up totally fan-girling to his first appearance, donning a Jon Stewart shirt and hat. The actor certainly has made his time on the show count, even busting the occasional move.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart welcomes Louis C.K. as its final guest before Thursday’s series final on Wednesday night at 11 p.m. ET.