On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart took on the Duck Dynasty scandal that has sent tremors into the media culture wars. "I think what the guy said is ignorant," Stewart admitted. "But I also have an inclination to support a world where saying ignorant shit on television doesn't get you kicked off that medium."
In typical form, the show highlighted right-wing media hypocrisy: Fox News personalities have breathlessly supported Phil Robertson's right to "free speech" while blasting any public figure who has the gall to utter "happy holidays" in lieu of "Christmas."
But the episode's genuinely stirring emotional peak came when Jon Stewart bid an alternately funny and moving goodbye to loyal correspondent John Oliver, who's headed to newer pastures, on the occasion of his final night. This required a bit of a ruse: Stewart began with an introduction on England's royal phone-hacking scandal, invited his "senior royal correspondent" onstage for a segment, then abandoned the bit he had made Oliver rehearse all day and revealed his ploy. "There's only one British royal I care about tonight, and his name is Prince John Oliver," Stewart told his sheepish correspondent.
From there, Stewart introduced a supercut tribute to Oliver's characteristically British "sophisticated wit," a montage that included Oliver mooning TV anchors and crudely pantomiming congressmen's sex lives. "We have nowhere near enough time to show all the amazing pieces John did in the field," Stewart said, excerpting some of the correspondent's finest interviews.
When the camera returned to the two hosts for a final embrace, Oliver was quite visibly in real tears. "I know how to break the mood!" Stewart warned, and the summer's familiar Carlos Danger theme song proudly blared. And so John Oliver concluded his illustrious Daily Show tenure by doing the Carlos Danger dance while clearly in tears, a surreal, if fitting, end of an era.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.