As we reported earlier, Jon Stewart will be signing off as America's Most Trusted Voice in News and will be exiting The Daily Show at the end of this season after an iconic 15 year run. Stewart delivered an emotional, yet comforting, sign-off during tonight's episode, in which he offered a bit of clarity on the situation. 

Now I would imagine that as this show is airing, there is information out there that the audience isn’t aware of. 

So I will just tell you – Doug Herzog and Michelle Gaines of Comedy Central gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise. Seventeen years is the longest I have, in my life, held a job by 16 years and five months [applause]. Thank you.

The upshot there being, I am a terrible employee. But in my heat I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity [audience is freaking out]. Zub-bup-bup-bup! I told you they didn’t know!

Not right away – we’re all still working out the details, might be when I’m up [for a contract] in September, might be December, might be July. And I don’t have a specific plan – I have a lot of ideas in my head. 

I’m going to have dinner — on a school night – with my family, who I have heard, from multiple sources, are lovely people. 

Now I’m not going to be here and try to sum up what this place has meant to me over the years … but this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you. 

I don’t think I’m gonna miss being on television every day, but I’m going to miss coming here every day [praises staff]. I love them and respect them so much [getting emotional]. Gahhhhh! 

Anyway. 

It’ s been an absolute privilege. The home of my professional life. And I thank you for watching it, or hate-watching it – whatever reason you were tuning in for. You get into this business with the idea that you might have a point of view or have something to express. And to receive feedback for that is the greatest thing you can ask for. And I thank you for that.

Stewart then cut away to The Daily Show's bookend, The Moment of Zen, which was a grainy black-and-white movie reel of a monkey bathing a cat, reminding us that it's still OK to laugh. Unfortunately, no moment of Zen could possibly be long enough to soften this cultural loss. 

[Via Mashable