In honor of Jon Stewart’s last night, here’s his very first monologue

You know what they say: all good things must come to an end. Tonight is Jon Stewart’s very last night on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. We know, we know — we’re crying, too. After 17 years behind the desk, redefining critical news, simultaneously inspiring laughs, slow claps, and new perspectives, tonight is the finale we’ve all been tearfully waiting for.

Six months ago, Jon announced on air that he will be leaving the show. “Seventeen years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job, by 16 years and five months,” he told the audience in February. “It is time for someone else to have that opportunity. . . This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you.”

We will all remember Jon’s uniquely brilliant way of delivering news with his characteristic sarcasm, wildly impassioned gestures, and heavy dollop of wit. And, in the opinion of many around the world, Jon Stewart was the one who truly delivered real, honest truth without the media’s spin.

“I think Stewart has it both ways,” longtime TV news reporter Jeff Greenfield told New York Times. “He says he’s just a comedian but he’s more than a comedian and I think he knows that. I spent three decades-plus doing network news but if you ask me today, what do I pay more attention to, John Oliver and Jon Stewart or the evening newscast, it’s not close. I get much more out of Oliver and Stewart when he’s cooking than I do out of those formulaic 22-minute newscasts.”

Since Jon’s debut on the show over a decade ago, he’s captured our hearts by shedding much-needed, agenda-free light on so many essential issues — the Confederate flag debate, the Charleston shooting, and the protests in Baltimore surrounding the suspicious death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. And all of these were just in the past several months; to express the sheer magnitude of Jon’s 17-year legacy on the show would require an entire volume of books.

“He made the position what it was and he was smart and talented enough to imagine what this could be,” Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, former performer on Saturday Night Live, said in an interview, according to the New York Times. “It evolved very quickly under his leadership and used the format of fake news to talk about everything and anything, and do it brilliantly.”

In honor of Jon’s very last night, below is Jon Stewart’s very FIRST night on The Daily Show — January 11th, 1999. Almost 17 years ago, Jon was just as charming, hard-hitting, hilarious, and all-around talented as he is to this day. We’ll miss you, Jon.

Tune in to Jon’s very last sign-off tonight at 11/10c, and be prepared with some tissues, because this one’s gonna be a doozy.

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