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John Stewart The Daily Show
John Stewart The Daily Show

Stew Beef! Jon Stewart's 15 Most Okayplayer-ish Moments On 'The Daily Show'

The Wu-Tang Clan Reemerges, Perform New Single "Ron O'Neal" On The Daily Show

Stew Beef!!! We hardly knew ye. It is, without a doubt, the end of an era. This week Jon Stewart announced that he will be abdicating his duties behind the desk of The Daily Show, ending a 17 -year run as the lead anchor and unstoppable force behind the Comedy Central program--and the rest of Comedy Central's programming too, considering The Daily Show's multiple successful spin-offs. Under Stewart's command The Daily Show grew from an irreverent talk show to one of the most important sources of news for young(ish) Americans; Stewart offered us an escape from the slanted narratives of mainstream reporting and the bloviating of those in power--it's not too much of a stretch to call the program a miniature media revolution.

When he finally does leave the program for good (which is said to happening at an unspecified date later this year), Stewart will be free to reminisce on the hundreds of interviews and special segments that he himself made possible--the presidents, writers, journalists, actors and musicians that stopped for their big Daily Show moment. Of that host of guests, a great many of them belonged to the worlds of hip-hop, r&b and jazz. Others were crucial figures in black cinema, television and politics. Having made his late night hosting debut on MTV (where he gave The Roots their moment of on-camera shine), Stewart has never shied away from progressive mentalities and musicians--and if his hip-hop credentials were ever in doubt, that doubt should be permanently dispelled by the fact that Jon Stewart AKA Stew Beef AKA J-Stew is the only late night host to have received his rapper name from the brilliant Tracy Morgan on-air (watch below). Keeping that fact in mind, we've scoured the Comedy Central archives and compiled the 15 Most Okayplayer-ish Moments from The Daily Show. From The Wu Tang Clan's very recent reunion performance, all the way back to a all-denim-everything-clad Busta Rhymes and a fresh-faced Dave Chappelle, turn the pages and relive some of the freshest moments in the program's history. We'll miss you, Jon--thanks for all the truth you spat. Watch Tracy christen Stew Beef below and then click through 15 more of the most hip-hop moments during Jon Stewart's tenure on The Daily Show.

1. The Wu Tang Clan represent in full for A Better Tomorrow (2015)

As they prepared to drop last year's brilliant LP A Better Tomorrow, the entire Wu Tang Clan rolled through The Daily Show set to perform album single "Ron O'Neal" and closed the show out with the classic 1997 cut "Triumph." In between the posse sat down with Stewart for a proper interview, getting to the heart of a few crucial issues from the work of keeping the group together and which individuals had the hardest time reuniting for the sake of the group. From Ghostface and RZA, all the way to Masta Killa, it was a thing of beauty to see the entire crew roll 9 deep at the desk.

>>>Watch The Wu Tang Clan's extended Daily Show interview here

>>>Watch Wu Tang perform "Triumph" here

2. Jay-Z Reveals His Author's Notes On Decoded (2010)

"You're sharp," Jay-Z praised Stewart, who in the first minute of their conversation seemed to reveal the secrets of Hova's book Decoded. One of the relatively few black authors to appear on the show and one of only two hip-hop stars to pass through to promote his own book, Jay-Z proved to be fiercely intelligent and mindful about his literary work. Stewart leaned back and chose to simply listen for a lot of the interview segment, giving both Jay and his musical genre due reverence as a mindful fan and listener.

3. Dave Chappelle Admits He Smoked Out An Entire Hotel (1999)

"It was like the whole hotel was made out of hemp," Stewart remembered from his trip to meet Dave Chappelle during the shooting of Half Baked. Chappelle's interview, cut four years before he himself would become the biggest name on Comedy Central, is a hilarious time capsule. He and Stewart, two living legends of the modern comedy scene, are content to joke around with each other like old roommates, dishing on Dave's old dog "Whitey" and the failures of Forrest Gump.

4. Busta Rhymes Posts Up In His Patchwork Denim Everything (2002)

We promise this one isn't only about the fashion. Busta Rhymes stopped by The Daily Show couch to rep his role in Halloween: Resurrection, admitting that he got caught up in a dice game with Michael Meyers during set breaks and that he didn't have a real clue as to whether or not his character died at the end of the film. Stewart passes on some solid Hollywood advice and shares his favorite Busta moment.

5. Questlove Goes Mo' Meta With John Oliver (2013)

Yes, John Stewart was in Jordan for this one but we, like John Oliver can't resist noting "F**king sweet bowtie!" as the OKP CEO Questlove gets comfortable in his Daily Show seat. In the 2013 interview, Oliver raves about how much he loves Questlove's memoir Mo' Meta Blues, noting that Roots manager Rich Nichols (R.I.P.) often auto-corrects Questlove's memories of his musical past. Quest also speaks at length on what he thinks is one of the most important moments in hip-hop--that time when Stevie Wonder brought a sampler onto The Cosby Show and shared looping with the world.

6. RZA Shares The Wu-Tang Philosophy (2005)

"I strive to bring those threads together, so one minute we're quoting from the Bible, next minute Marvel comics," RZA points out in his literary jam session with Stewart. The two discuss The Wu-Tang Manual, a must-read for anyone interested in hip-hop at large, and, of course, the joys of kung fu films. Bong bong.

7. LL Cool J Admits He Almost Got Eaten By A Robot Shark (1999)

As his film career was taking off, Cool dropped by The Daily Show (in a rare Kangol-less public appearance) to promote his 2002 action flick In Too Deep, but couldn't resist recalling his days on set shooting Deep Blue Sea, especially the time when the film's animatronic shark prop almost took a very real bite out of his leg. Stewart asks LL about his SCUBA diving certification and lets him rap about his role playing the ultimate gangster bad guy.

8. Esperanza Spalding Performs "Black Gold" (2012)

Stewart didn't make time for many musical performances during his tenure, but when he did he made sure to pick the best. Esperanza Spalding's big band ran through a tasteful rendition of her tune "Black Gold"--a celebration of the artistry and genius in black culture.

9. Hip-hop in Iran, Brought to You in Part by Tanya Morgan! (2009)

Not an appearance per se, Von Pea and Don Will of Tanya Morgan shared their production talents with The Daily Show in 2009 (almost certainly linked up by Wyatt Cenac, the Daily Show's erstwhile senior black correspondent--and Don Will's partner in the Shouting At The Screen cinema series). Remember that time when they sent fake reporter Jason Jones to Iran? You probably remember because one of his interviewees was arrested for espionage, a story told in Stewart's recent film Rosewater. But Jones also went to to meet with local MCs. There's no denying that the subsequent rap is ridiculous, but then again the (Tanya Morgan-produced) beat is legitimately solid, and as far as talk show hip-hop send-ups go, this one at least comes off well-intended and self-aware. The Tehran locals love it.

10. Queen Latifah And Jon Stewart Discuss The Ins & Outs of Bacon (2006)

It only takes a minute for Queen Latifah and Stew Beef to get to the important issues: bacon. "Don't mess with bacon, c'mon. You want healthy bacon, get turkey bacon," she asserts, getting Stewart to agree that there's nothing like the real thing come breakfast time. Latifah talks about making the transition from the music industry to Hollywood, and helping her mom around the house keeps her head from getting too big.

11. Andre 3000 Can't Tear Himself Away From His Phone (2005)

From the beginning it's clear that something's not right. The Outkast MC, producer and vocalist arrives on the program clutching his Blackberry, claiming it's like a security blanket for him. Stewart takes it upon himself to teach his guest a lesson in self-control, and the two eventually make a truce and the phone gets turned back on. Andre admits that he uses his phone for just about everything, including jotting down ideas for music and videos. Stewart can't believe someone would spend that much time on their phone, and so what in 2005 was a technology send-up is now a bag of 2015 smartphone foreshadowing. Don't miss 3000's crucial quote: "I'm not a poop-ologist."

12. Mavis Staples Returns to Greatness With "Can You Get To That" (2013)

Another brilliant performance from The Daily Show's limited run of musical guests, soul legend Mavis Staples brought "Can You Get to That" through the studio in support of her astonishing comeback album One True Vine.

13. The Tone Def Poetry Jam (2011)

And now we come to what has indisputably been Stewart's greatest defense of hip-hop, ever. After pundits at Fox News raised a fuss over Common performing briefly at a White House poetry jam, Stewart took it upon himself to put the "ginned up and ridiculously overblown non-controversy" to bed. Common was quickly and sloppily labeled a "promoter of cop killing" by those at Fox, and Stewart quickly and handily took the network down for its anti-hip-hop (and anti-Obama) agenda.

14. Common Speaks His Peace On Air (2011)

Passing through to promote his memoir One Day It'll All Make Sense, Common again found a kindred spirit in Stewart, who had already defended his lyricism earlier that year. "At first I thought it was humorous, I was like 'Really? They think that I'm a person of negative energy?'...Anybody that knows me knows I put out music about love," Common clarifies. He and Stewart speculate as to whether or not Sarah Palin gets down to hip-hop on the campaign trail, and Stewart confesses his great admiration for the MC's writing prowess.

15. Jon Stewart Bodies Bill O'Reilly On His Own Program (2011)

Admittedly this isn't a Daily Show clip, but it's perhaps the most Okayplayer moment of Stewart's entire career. As a guest on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News program, Stewart goes to the mat for Common, the Obama administration and the sake of sane media discourse everywhere, walking back O'Reilly's every suggestion that Common and other rappers like him are supporters of police killings.