Last night, we witnessed the end of a late night era when Jon Stewart signed off from The Daily Show for the last time. Whatever your thoughts on Jon, love him or hate him, one would have to have a heart of pure stone to not admit that last night was an emotional hour. However, the sweetest moment came when Stephen Colbert, arguably Jon Stewart's biggest and more brilliant collaborator, came to pay tribute to the man who started his career.
The segment started as a regular comedic Daily Show bit, where Colbert (a self-proclaimed Lord of the Rings fanatic) came out and compared Jon's signing off as eerily similar to Lord of the Rings, and the adventures of Frodo (who, according to Stephen, is Stewart), and Colbert, his ever-loyal Samwise. It was a great way to say goodbye and to thank him.
But it didn't end there...
Colbert, being the brilliant master of trickery he is, went off-script and paid tribute to Stewart in the most tender and emotional of ways. There were sporadic jokes sprinkled in there for the audience, but it was, at its core, not a moment of entertainment, but a moment of pure, unadulterated gratitude.
Colbert clearly spoke directly from the heart, and it never rang as phony or insincere for a single moment. The most heartwarming part was seeing Stewart tear up, because everything Stephen said is true. I won't transcribe exactly what Stephen said here, because to convey the full emotion and meaning, it has to be seen.
Of course, the bittersweet farewell didn't quite end with Colbert's ad-libbed message of gratitude. As Colbert signaled for a commercial break, many of The Daily Show's past and present correspondents all rushed out and embraced Stewart. Seeing the likes of Josh Gad, Steve Carell, and John Oliver all embracing Stewart reminds us that Stewart was not only a great comedian and satirist, but someone responsible for over a dozen careers of comedians. Colbert is right - they owe him everything.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjJBaYs1cKU&h=500