On Tuesday, Comedy Central dropped some big news on us: Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. Stewart has been hosting the show since 1999. And on Tuesday night's episode, Stewart announced his news to a surprised audience.
The show began with Stewart telling his television audience that we knew something that his studio audience didn't (the show is taped earlier in the day). The announcement did not come until the end of the show.
"Seventeen years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job by ... 16 years and five months," he said. "In my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity … I'm going to have dinner. On a school night. With my family."
Stewart said he was fighting back tears, and there were a couple moments when he tried to shake the emotion off. He also said that he that details like his last show were still being hammered out.
"It's been an absolute privilege. I thank you for watching it or hate-watching it," he said, explaining that it was an honor to have a show that let him distill his point of view. "I thank you for that."
There's a giant gulf between reading the corporate news of his departure Tuesday evening and actually hearing Stewart say the words on his show. Seeing how emotional and tender Stewart got speaks to the mountains of respect and love he has for The Daily Show and the people he works with.