Even Jon Stewart couldn't stop himself welling up as he hosted his final ever episode of The Daily Show.

The man who managed to squeeze a tear out of the satirist-cum-newsman-cum-comedian-cum-campaigner was his friend and prodigy Stephen Colbert, whose unprompted speech made Stewart wheel around the set uncomfortably on his chair.

"You're infuriatingly good at your job," Colbert said, adding that "all of us lucky enough to work with you for 16 years are better at our jobs because we got to watch you do yours and we are better people for having known you."

That was the moment Stewart choked up; he was only saved from all-out blubbing thanks to the dual defences of ad break and group hug.

So ends the run of one of the most influential comedians in America. But it's not just in the States where his voice of satirical reason will be missed.

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis met Stewart for Radio Times earlier this year, and said he was the man who "managed to teach me so much about my own journalistic profession, and has done it with an almost reckless ease at his own brilliance".

Then there is Justin Webb, another "serious" British news broadcaster, who wrote in February that Stewart was "the most influential American since Ronald Reagan."

"His work is done," Webb added. "He has used his immense talent, his quick wits, his painstaking research, his command of language, to move young Americans to a different place – in many respects a more European place, with less religion, more gay rights, fewer hang-ups, more tolerance. Where Ronnie shifted them right, Jonnie shifted them back again."

So comedians, journalists, but most of all viewers on both sides of the Atlantic will sorely miss Stewart as he steps out from behind the desk for good, even though we're reassured the show is in safe hands with South African comedian Trevor Noah taking over.

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