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Remembering 16 years of Jon Stewart, as he signs off The Daily Show forever

It’s hard to remember a time when Jon Stewart wasn’t there for us. As host of The Daily Show, the comedian spent 16 years putting his brilliant spin on the lunacy that is the daily news cycle. Through countless world news events, natural disasters, and head-smacking political buffoonery, Stewart (along with his razor-sharp team of rotating correspondents) has been the beacon of both reason, and downright hilarity that young people have followed through the storm.

And now (sadface), he’s leaving us. Stewart’s last turn as host of The Daily Show will air tonight.

Though he took over his post from original host, Craig Kilborn, it was Stewart who shaped The Daily Show into something more than just a satirical spin on current events and easy one-liners. After gaining the trust and admiration of a generation of jaded young people who’d all but given up on TV news as a viable source of information, Stewart used his pulpit to bring some sense to the senselessness in the landscape of 24-hour news. And he also brought plenty of levity and laughter with him.

To pay tribute to Stewart’s final moments, Comedy Central has brought out all the stops, including airing all of the Stewart Daily Show episodes on the network’s website over the past month, creating a special to commemorate some of his best moments from the pile, and even airing his first ever segment as host of the show online.

So young, so naive, so un-grey. It’s like looking back at the first few weeks of an outgoing president, except without the hyper-accelerated aging. Either that or a high school junior going to prom — nice suit, Jon. There are so many great moments of comedy and satire, and so many careers launched, it’s hard to pick out just a few — but we’ll try anyway.

There were the Even Stevphen sketches, for instance, which featured a couple of unknown comedians named Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell debating everything from marijuana legalization to a showdown between the merits of Islam over Christianity.

There were the horde of “on-the-ground” correspondents skits, including a host of names like Rob Riggles, Demetri Martin, Mo Rocca, Jon Oliver, Samantha Bee, Lewis Black, Wyatt Ceneca and, of course, incoming host Trevor Noah, among so many others.

And then there were the interviews: Everyone who is anyone has made their way to the must-stop destination, from Bruce Springstein to Kurt Vonnegut, Angelina Jolie to Lebron James, Peter Jennings to President Barack Obama.

There were Fox news take-downs, straight-talk moments with America in crisis, ridiculously over-the-top graphics, and uproarious segments highlighting elections (e.g. Democalypse 2012). And through it all, Stewart held down the chair, bringing consistency to a genre he and his staff were inventing along the way.

For his last few shows, Stewart had some of his favorite guests on to help reminisce, including his old pal Louis C.K. We’ll leave you with a clip of that interview, as the two wax nostalgic over Stewart’s reign, as well as discussing just where Stewart, and the show, will go next.

Mr. Stewart, you will be missed.

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