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Farewell, Jon Stewart: 8 great Daily Show music moments

Paul McCartney and Jon Stewart

Paul McCartney and Jon Stewart


Tonight, after 16 years, Jon Stewart will host his final episode of The Daily Show. Having delighted us for three presidential administrations and given us a whole new appreciation for Arby’s, he’s made quite an impact. While there’s been plenty of Jon Stewart tributes online, we’ve dug in the crates to find the best music moments from his Daily Show tenure, capturing 16 years of pop culture and politics. You can catch his final episode at 10 p.m. tonight on Comedy Central. 

It is with all of our zen that we take a moment to bid Jon Stewart farewell with these eight great Daily Show music clips.

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Jon Stewart’s A Quick Word of Advice with KISS’ Phantom Menace 3/16/99
Early, early on in Jon Stewart's run, The Daily Show — co-created in 1996 by Minnesotan Lizz Winstead — was still finding its footing. This transitional point following the departure of Craig Kilborn, another Minnesotan, less than two months prior, led to Stewart weighing more on pop culture exploration stories. In this early bit, Stewart "convinces" the members of KISS to not join a Canadian production of Phantom of the Opera.

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TDS Kickin’ It Lounge 8/2/2001
The recent retrospectives of Stewart’s 16 years on The Daily Show have really emphasized what a time capsule the show's archives have become. One such example is perfectly capturing what the pre-9/11 MTV climate was like on that channel’s 20th anniversary. Given that Stewart at one point hosted a show on the network, it adds an interesting edge to this era’s primary MTV criticisms, some of which still hold up today.

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America Freaks Out: Hammer Time 10/22/01
While many cite The Daily Show’s first episode back from the 9/11 attacks as one of its most iconic hours, there’s also the tremendous job the show did sending up the stranger pop culture elements of post-9/11 hysteria. One such incident that may have otherwise flown under the radar was MC Hammer recording a music video for his 9/11 benefit album ... with active members of Congress.

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Freedom ‘Raq Part 2 4/7/03
Also forever immortalized by The Daily Show, and possibly by no one else, are the pro- and anti-Iraq War songs that littered so many protest playlists, and later, CD bargain bins. Things got absurdly bad on both fronts, which were mutually sent up by Stewart as only he can.

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When Jon Met RZA 3/24/05
Many hip-hop and Daily Show fans share an affection for Stewart’s interview with the entire current 10-man incarnation of Wu-Tang Clan from last year. But Stewart’s 2005 interview with RZA after the Wu-Tang Manual dropped is one of the most candid, insightful, and accessible interviews RZA’s ever given. Rarely do important figures in hip-hop get this level of quality from TV interviews, but this particular clip shows Stewart's respectful, satisfying understanding of the Wu-Tang legacy.

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Hip-hop, the Recession, and Slim Thug’s Like a Boss Video 10/8/09
While plenty of artists have stopped by the show to speak with Jon or perform their music, once in a while original music would arise. One such occasion was the Slim Thug exclusive premiere of “Still a Boss.” Introduced by Stewart and Wyatt Cenac, the video touches on living the hip-hop life post-recession.

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Paul McCartney Plays the Game 12/16/14
It made for a simply wonderful Christmastime last year when Paul McCartney visited the show. The Beatles legend chatted with Jon about his new single released in conjunction with a video game

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Adam Horovitz and Jon Hang Out for the First Time 4/13/15
It’s rare that any of the Beastie Boys does an interview, so when King Adrock showed up for an extended 10-minute interview earlier this year, it reminded us of the great irreverence and fun that’s been missing since the group’s final album in 2011.