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Jon Stewart's final 'Daily Show' draws near-record ratings

Jon Stewart said his final "Daily Show" adios on Thursday with a near-record audience.

An average of 3.5 million total viewers watched Stewart bid goodbye to the Comedy Central perch that he turned into a late-night comedy institution over the last 17 years.

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The finale far outpaced typical "Daily Show" ratings, which usually landed below 2 million per night.

But the last show was watched by just shy of the 3.6 million who in October 2008 tuned in to see Barack Obama, then a candidate for the White House, appear on the program," in what remains its best-ever showing in the ratings.

However, DVR and other time-shifted viewing is much more commonplace now than it was seven years ago, so it's a virtual certainty that the Stewart finale will see its numbers go much higher once viewing over the next several days is tabulated, according to Nielsen.

Stewart's goodbye show included a visit from Stephen Colbert, a former "Daily Show" correspondent who graduated to his own successful fake-news program on Comedy Central and will later this year take over the late-night franchise on CBS.

There was also a reel of sarcastic sendoffs from some of the comic's most frequent targets, including Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who shouted: "Have fun feeding your rabbits, quitter!"

"So long, jackass," Sen. John McCain told Stewart.

What did you think of Stewart's finale?

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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