It’s official. Jon Stewart is leaving “The Daily Show” later this year after 16 years as host of the iconic Comedy Central program.
His announcement during Tuesday’s taping — one that guest David Axelrod later tweeted was an “emotional night” — was totally unexpected, spreading throughout social media like wildfire. According to Twitter Data, there were over 130,000 tweets related to the news within the first hour and a half.
Since taking over the program from previous host Craig Kilborn in 1999, Stewart has built an unlikely institution, not only entertaining — but, for better or worse — informing millions of Americans and managing to hilariously hold those in power accountable in ways his more serious journalistic counterparts couldn’t.
So fans — including the celebrity set — have been taking his departure understandably hard.
CNN news man Anderson Cooper was as stunned as the rest of us:
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) February 10, 2015
Actor Wil Wheaton evidently blames the news on Earth-616:
We lose Colbert, and now we lose Jon Stewart?! This is the worst timeline, ever.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) February 11, 2015
“Extra” host Mario Lopez wasn’t having it:
Jon Stewart Leaving @TheDailyShow ?! Not acceptable.. Seriously
— Mario Lopez (@MarioLopezExtra) February 11, 2015
Craig Ferguson, former host of CBS’s “The Late Late Show,” also chimed in:
Congratulations to Jon Stewart on an extraordinary groundbreaking run.
— Craig Ferguson (@CraigyFerg) February 11, 2015
NY1 News anchor Pat Kiernan wanted to know what everyone is asking:
Still haven't seen anything in Jon Stewart stories to explain timing. Anyone?
— Pat Kiernan (@patkiernan) February 11, 2015
Famed statistician Nate Silver had some insights into to Stewart’s possible future:
Sorta hoping Jon Stewart is leaving to play minor league baseball and will be back in two years with Dennis Rodman in tow.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 11, 2015
And New York Post columnist Bart Hubbuch said everything with one picture:
My reaction to Jon Stewart's decision. pic.twitter.com/BH7P2RmW5e
— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) February 11, 2015
But it was the fans who took it the hardest:
First Stephen Colbert leaves his show, and then Jon Stewart. It's the end of an era, man.
— Sebastian Lamoreaux (@ArkhamInquirer) February 11, 2015
Not happy about Jon Stewart leaving Daily Show
— SG (@crackerjackpsu) February 11, 2015
The end of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart? #WHAT?
— Brittani Haywood (@brittspolitical) February 11, 2015
No, Jon Stewart! Why? Why?????????? (Seriously, good luck, man)
— SF Lunatic Fringe (@sflunaticfringe) February 11, 2015
Jon Stewart has done more to engage next generation in the news than any other single person.
— Patricia Cohen (@PatcohenNYT) February 11, 2015
OMG! Jon Stewart leaving his Comedy channel show later this year. Where will we get our news now? via FoxNews
— Andrew Malcolm (@AHMalcolm) February 11, 2015
reminder: jon stewart is not dying
— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) February 10, 2015
Perhaps actor and director Jay Duplass summed it up it best:
what will we do without you, Jon Stewart, oh captain our captain? @TheDailyShow
— Jay Duplass (@jayduplass) February 11, 2015