Jon Stewart waited until the closing minutes of Tuesday’s Daily Show to reveal his plans to exit Comedy Central’s satirical flagship by the end of this year.

“You probably know things these people don’t,” he told viewers at the top of the show, motioning to the studio audience. “We’ll get to that.”

After an opening segment mocking Fox News commentators for comparing Russian leader Vladimir Putin to President Obama, and an interview with campaign strategist David Axelrod, Stewart addressed the topic at hand.

Jon Stewart is quitting ‘The Daily Show’

Stewart, who joined the show in 1999, said his tenure marked “the longest I have ever in my life held a job,” and added, “In my heart, I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity.” The audience gasped. “Not right away; we’re still working out the details, it might be December, it might be July,” he said. (His contract ends in September).

Unlike Stephen Colbert, he’s not leaving to take another job. “I don’t have any specific plans; I’ve got a lot of ideas, I’ve got a lot of things in my head. I’m going to have dinner on a school night with my family, who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people.”

There’s plenty of time to thank colleagues and admirers, he added, though he thanked viewers for watching it and for “hate-watching it,” and called The Daily Show “an absolute privilege, and the honor of my professional life.”

But “this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you.”

Stewart takes away our ‘Daily’ news

Jon Stewart hosts "The Daily Show." He announced he

Jon Stewart hosts “The Daily Show.” He announced he is leaving his spot as host. (Photo: Rick Kern, Getty Images for Comedy Central)
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