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Watch Jon Stewart Break The News Of His Departure To An Audience

Taping last night's show shortly before the news of his departure became public, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart faced an awkward task: telling a studio audience that he's leaving the show.

In the process, Stewart couldn't resist making fun of himself.

"Seventeen years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job," he said, "by 16 years and 5 months."

Saying that he had been given "an incredible opportunity to pilot this wonderful franchise," Stewart later added, "in my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity."

That statement set off a wave of moans from the audience — and Stewart did his best to wave them away.

Discussing his plans, he said, "I'm gonna have dinner, on a school night, with my family — who, I have heard from multiple sources, are lovely people."

Stewart said his final show could come in September or December, or as early as July.

"It's been an absolute privilege," he said. "It's been the honor of my professional life."

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