After this week, the Jon Stewart era of television will be over.
The witty comedian has hosted "The Daily Show" for 16 years, and in that time he's pulled few punches against the hypocrisy and stupidity of government officials and those in power. Over time, his wit and harsh critiques ended up moving him into the political theater itself; Fox News hosts would respond to his jokes, politicians would answer questions he's raised, and many suspect laws were passed because of the uproar he could cause.
But with the show coming to an end there is one thing all politically engaged Americans must do: remind ourselves not to take things at face value, and to look at every politician — whether they align with our views or not — with a critical eye. To honor Stewart and the era of critical thinking we hope he leaves behind, here are nine times he was at his best.
9. When he obliterated the climate change deniers.
In September 2014, a member of the House Committee On Science named Sen. Bocshon said he wouldn't believe the scientific literature even if he read it. One of his colleagues went on to describe global warming's dangerous ice melting as displacement, without really understanding what that meant.
Jon calmly explained that, in the metaphor, the ice isn't already in the water. So what really happens would look something like this:
Here's the full clip:
8. When he went on "Crossfire," tore into the hosts and ended the show.
7. When he helped get the 9/11 first responders healthcare bill passed.
After Republican lawmakers were dragging their feet on a bill that would fund healthcare for 9/11 first responders, Jon Stewart spent a few episodes (including the one below) railing them for the damage they were doing. Just a few weeks later, under the public pressure Stewart helped cultivate, congress came to an agreement to fund the bill.
6. His emotional monologue after 9/11.
5. After the financial crisis in 2009, Stewart was one of the only people to call out the analysts who lied on TV, like Jim Cramer.
"You knew what the banks were doing, and yet were touting it for months and months. The entire network was, and so now to pretend this was some sort of crazy once in a lifetime tsunami that nobody could have seen coming is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst."
4. When he changed the Veterans Benefits system.
After giving a close examination to The Choice Program, which was designed to help veterans get speedy healthcare, Stewart discovered that a nuance in the program that required veterans to be within "40 miles as the crow flies" to a VA facility to get treatment. As Huffington Post reported, "the rule kept many who lived far from hospitals by roads from using the program." The segment below, which Stewart ran in response to the asinine bill, caused the Department of Veterans Affairs to change the rule only days after his program aired.