The Daily Show: The 5 Best Moments from Jon Stewart's Last Show

Jon Stewart's Last Daily Show: the 5 Best Moments
Jon Stewart
Brad Barket/Getty

08/07/2015 AT 09:25 AM EDT

Legendary Daily Show host Jon Stewart took the anchor seat for the last time on Thursday night after 16½ years – and it didn't disappoint.

Here are the five best moments from the emotional sign-off episode.

1. Daily Show correspondents provided some post-debate coverage – and a few familiar faces also made an appearance.

In a twist of fate, the final broadcast of the show aired at the same time as a doozy of a Republican presidential debate – a prime Stewart target.

A segment that started out as a parody of debate coverage turned into a parade of former Daily Show writers and contributors, including Steve Carell, Samantha Bee and Jason Jones.

As Stewart expressed his gratitude to Carell for returning, the actor quipped: "I never left, Jon. Becoming an international superstar is just something I did while I was waiting for my next assignment."

2. "Black shows matter, Jon."

Stewart's last show was extended by half an hour, bumping The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

Instead, Wilmore made a brief appearance on Stewart's show: "Thought I'd stop by as I've got nothing else to do tonight. The Nightly Show got bumped," he jokily complained.

"Black shows matter, Jon," he added.

RELATED VIDEO: Jon Stewart Gets Choked Up During Star-Studded Final Episode of The Daily Show

3. Sen. John McCain to Stewart: "So long, jackass."

Stewart – who is known for his epic takedowns of the GOP – was in for a treat when some of his targets bid him farewell via video message.

"I'll never forget you, Jon, but I will be trying," said one Republican presidential nominee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Sen. John McCain also appeared in a video, mimicking the host with a look-alike puppet: "I'm Jon Stewart, I'm dumb, I'm stupid – so long, jackass."

Even Hillary Clinton weighed in with a short message: "And just when I'm running for president," she said. "What a bummer."

4. Stephen Colbert's sentimental adieu

After an epic Lord of the Rings rant in which he compared Stewart to Frodo, Stewart's most famous protégé, Stephen Colbert, struck a emotional chord during his farewell, moving the host to tears.

As Stewart tried to cut to commercial break, Colbert interrupted him to go off-prompter: "We're not quite done, Jon. It'll be quick if you just hold still."

"We owe you … we owe you because we learned from you," he continued. "You are infuriatingly good at your job. All of us who were lucky enough to work with you … all of us 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."

5. Stewart's moment of zen: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

The finale concluded with a performance from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – but before the band came on, Stewart delivered his last words.

"This show isn't ending. We're merely taking a small pause in the conversation," said the host. "A conversation which, by the way, I have hogged … So rather than saying goodbye, or goodnight, I'm just going to say: I'm going to get a drink, and I'm sure I'll see you guys before I leave. So here it is – my moment of zen."
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