His goodbye was the follow-up to the record-breaking GOP Debate on Fox News but Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show farewell was a silver medal winner of its own. In a true #JonYoyage fashion, the late night 1-hour end to the Rosewater director’s 16-year satirical reign on Comedy Central was watched by 3.5 million last night. With the second best overall viewership in its history, the Stewart finale had an audience of 1.8 million among adults 18-49.
The 3.5 million is up significantly from the 2.5 million who saw the star-studded finale of The Colbert Report on December 18 last year. That viewership was the best the Stephen Colbert hosted Daily Show lead-out had ever had in its 9-year history. The best Daily Show viewership ever was the 3.6 million who tuned in for the October 28, 2008 visit by then Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.
For more recent Stewart-to-Stewart comparisons, Monday’s Daily Show, featuring Trainwreck star Amy Schumer, snagged an average of 1.7 million Live + Same Day viewers. Schumer’s visit to the show came just hours after she attended a high profile news conference with her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to announce a three-part legislative gun control plan. The presser and plan was in response to the fatal shooting at a Trainwreck screening in Lafayette, Louisiana on July 23.
Schumer’s August 3 Daily Show visit had been the late-night show’s biggest crowd since it snagged 2 million viewers in December. In the demo, Schumer’s Daily Show got a 0.58 rating which was its best since the 0.61 rating the show logged in late February this year. Obama’s seventh and final Daily Show gracing on July 21 snared 1.514 million viewers. The President was among those Thursday taking to Twitter to wish Stewart a #JonVoyage, as the top trend hashtag was coined.
All things considered, Stewart’s last show was a low-key finale during which the host squirmed and fought tears as Colbert thanked him for the staff, most of the show’s correspondents returned to help him “cover” the GOP debate in Cleveland, Hillary Clinton made a cameo and frequent guest, Sen. John McCain called him a jackass.
Trevor Noah takes over hosting duties on The Daily Show on September 28.