Emotional Jon Stewart Addresses Retirement on Air: "It's Been an Absolute Privilege" (Video)

"I don't have any specific plans," said the departing 'Daily Show' host.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, file)

Jon Stewart gave a preview of what his The Daily Show goodbye might look like later this year.

Stewart knew that by the time Tuesday's The Daily Show aired the news would likely be out, telling the TV audience at the top of the hour, "You probably know things these people [the studio audience] don't know yet, which is a twist."

Read more Jon Stewart Exit Leaves Comedy Central at a Crossroads

After interviewing President Obama advisor David Axelrod, Stewart made his announcement. 

"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. In my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity," Stewart said to dismayed groans from the audience.

Stewart said he and Comedy Central were working on the details of his exit, saying it might be anywhere from July to December.

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"I don't have any specific plans. I have a lot of ideas. I have a lot of things in my head. We're going to have dinner on a school night with my family, who, I have heard from multiple sources, are lovely people," Stewart said. "You know, I'm not going to try to sum up what this place has meant to me over the years. I couldn't do that. We got plenty of time."

He said he's "not going anywhere tomorrow."

"This show doesn't deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you. I don't think I'm going to miss being on television every day. I'm going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here. They are the best."

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Getting emotional, he pounded on his desk to stave off tears and did an impersonation of Frankenstein's monster.

"What is this fluid? What are these feelings? Frankenstein angry!"

He ended by calling it an honor to host the show.

"It's been an absolute privilege. It's been the honor of my professional life, and I thank you for watching it. For hate-watching it. Whatever reason you were tuning in for," Stewart said. 

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Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch 

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