Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show

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In an announcement on his show Tuesday, Jon Stewart announced he will leave The Daily Show later this year.

Comedy Central released an official statement confirming the news, saying the show will “endure for years to come,” perhaps indicating someone will replace Stewart and the show will not end with his departure.

Speculation continues as to what ventures Stewart will be involved with post-Daily Show, though many believe he may try his hand at directing film.

Stewart thanked Michele Ganeless, president of Comedy Central, for giving him the “incredible opportunity” seventeen years ago of presenting The Daily Show, and “seventeen years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job, by sixteen years and five months–the upshot there-being, I am a terrible employee, but in my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity.”

The audience responded with gasps when they realized Stewart was announcing his departure from the show.

Stewart said: “It’s not right away. We’re still working out details. It might be July, September, December.”

“I don’t have any specific plans” he continued. “Got a lot of ideas in my head. I want to have dinner on a school night with my family who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people.”

During his speech, Stewart also said he was going to miss “coming here,” especially the “creative and kind” people he works with. “I love them and respect them so much.”

A member of the audience then shouted, “Love you, Jon.”

Stewart responded in typical fahsion: “Burrrrr. Eugggh. What is this fluid? What are these feelings?”

Doing the show had been a privilege and honor, he added. “I thank you for watching it, hate-watching it, whatever reason you are tuning in for. You get into this business to have a point of view and something to express. To receive feedback from that is the greatest feeling. I thank you.”

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