Jon Stewart broke down in tears during an emotional farewell from comedian Stephen Colbert on his final episode of The Daily Show on Thursday evening.
Stewart, who helmed the iconic US politics and comedy show for 16 years, signed off from the show that became known for its ability to skewer both politicians and the absurdity of world events four nights a week.
Despite the host attempting to avoid any attempt to lionise his achievements, Colbert – one of many whose career was launched on the show – veered off script to celebrate the man who was “just infuriatingly good at your job”.
In an emotional monologue, reportedly delivered off the cuff, Colbert told an increasingly chocked up Stewart “We owe you because we learned from you,” he told a clearly uncomfortable Stewart.
“You are infuriatingly good at your job, ok?”
“We were lucky enough to work with you and – you can edit this out later – all of us lucky enough to work with you for 16 years 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,” he told Stewart as the host buried his head in his hands and appeared overcome.
The show featured a star-filled roster of cameos from previous correspondents and politicians, as well as a final send-off from singer Bruce Springsteen. Stewart will cede the popular long-running to South African comedian Trevor Noah.