Jon Stewart is just the latest funny man to bid farewell to a show this year. Finales featuring David Letterman and Stephen Colbert "each had an unexpected flourish that was much talked about afterward," writes Neil Genzlinger at the New York Times. "Stewart's final night seemed more slapdash than either of those earlier ones and might not produce a viral vignette, but it had perhaps the most heartfelt moment of any of them." It was a seemingly unexpected tribute from Colbert himself, who showed up to thank Stewart for his mentoring on behalf of Daily Show alum like Steve Carell, Samantha Bee, Ed Helms, and Olivia Munn, all in attendance (among others). "You are infuriatingly good at your job," Colbert said as Stewart teared up.
But before Bruce Springsteen could play Stewart out, the host delivered a monologue that showed his show, unlike some others, wasn't just about entertaining—that he achieved more, says Genzlinger. The topic: "bullshit." He slammed those who named the Patriot Act anything other than "Are You Scared Enough to Let Me Look at All of Your Phone Records Act" and attacked politicians guilty of "two-facedness," all while remaining relatively calm, "as if he wanted to make sure we knew it was not a gag," Genzlinger writes. He sees Stewart as coming full circle and ending by stating his "mission statement." After all, "the mere fact that it had a mission is what made The Daily Show stand out in the first place." Among Stewart's final messages to viewers: "If you smell something, say something." Read the piece in full here. (Read more Jon Stewart stories.)