Jon Stewart will be delivering his final Moment of Zen this year.
Comedy Central announced Tuesday that “The Daily Show” host will step down from the anchor chair later this year.
“Jon has been at the heart of Comedy Central, championing and nurturing the best talent in the industry, in front of and behind the camera. Through his unique voice and vision, ‘The Daily Show’ has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come,” Michele Ganeless, the president of Comedy Central, said in a statement.
Stewart, 52, broke the news to his audience during the taping of last night’s show.
"In my heart, I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity," Stewart said to the unsuspecting audience. "I don't have any specific plans ... I'm going to have dinner on a school night with my family, who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people."
Stewart did get emotional and tried to pass it off as a joke, saying "what is this fluid." "I thank you for watching it, for hate-watching it, whatever reason you were tuning in for."
He became of the host of the late night program in 1999 and quickly made it a hit with his satirical take on politics, the media, entertainment and everything in between.
"Seventeen years is the longest I have ever, in my life, held a job, by 16 years and five months," Stewart joked. "I am a terrible employee."
The show has won 19 Emmys and had two spinoffs, “The Colbert Report” and “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.”
“He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family,” Ganeless said.
Stewart went after members of both sides of the aisle with his jokes and reports, never shying away from dropping candid, vulgar one liners highlighting the absurdities in politics and the media.
His guests included movie, TV and comedy celebrities, authors, political figures and world leaders such as President Barack Obama and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
He developed a genial rivalry with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly; the two have appeared on each other’s show multiple times and held a debate in Washington, D.C.
Stewart’s fan base was in full force when he and Stephen Colbert conducted the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” on October 30, 2010. An estimated 200,000 people showed up at the National Mall in D.C. for the event.
Stewart left the show in summer 2013 to direct his first feature film “Rosewater” and correspondent John Oliver took over as host. ?