Jon Stewart announced during the taping of The Daily Show Tuesday that he’d decided it was time to walk away from the Comedy Central late night show.

Jon Stewart Exiting ‘The Daily Show’

At the end of the taping, Stewart took a moment to address the live audience and the much larger audience that would be catching the program later that night to reveal his intention to exit The Daily Show sooner rather than later. “Seventeen years is the longest in my life that I’ve ever held a job by 16 years and five months,” Stewart joked before turning serious adding, “In my heart, I know it’s time for someone else to have this opportunity.”

“This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you,” said Stewart. “I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day, but I’m going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here. They’re the best. They’re creative and collaborative and kind.”

As for now, Stewart, who took some time away from The Daily Show to direct Rosewater, says he’s not sure what’s next for him – though he’s not short on ideas. Among his plans are spending some more time with his wife and two children.

“I don’t have any specific plans,” he said. “Got a lot of ideas, got a lot of things 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.”

Before signing off, Stewart noted of his lengthy tenure on The Daily Show, “It’s been an absolute privilege, the honor of my professional life. And I thank you for watching it, for hate-watching it, whatever reason you tune in for.”

Comedy Central confirmed Stewart’s impending departure in a statement following his announcement:

“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. Jon will remain at the helm of The Daily Show until later this year. He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.”

 

While Stewart said in his announcement that he’s not sure exactly when he’ll be stepping away from the show – could be July, December or when his current contract is up in September – famous fans of the show are already grieving.

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