The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, who has stepped away from his desk to helm a feature film, took a recent opportunity to sit down with Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian political satirist known in his country as its version of the Comedy Central host, discussing the effects of satire on government.
“If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime,” Stewart said.
While in the Middle East, Stewart said he has been well received, “to the point where I wonder if you’re being sarcastic.” He also discussed the perceived dangers of satire with Youssef, who has faced trouble in his country for criticism of the Egyptian government.
Stewart defended his Egyptian colleague on the Daily Show when he was arrested in April for allegedly insulting President Mohammed Morsi and Islam. While initial reports stated it was Morsi who originally filed the complaint, the presidential office denied the claims.
Stewart said he was “honored” to be on the fellow comedian’s show and used the platform to jokingly announce that President Mohammed Morsi had appointed him an Egyptian mayor. Stewart also made light of his current hiatus while filming a movie in the region.
“As you know, my people like to wander the desert. So that’s what I’m doing now, wandering the desert,” he said.
The film, “Rosewater,” is Stewart’s movie adaptation of a book by journalist Maziar Bahari. Bahari was imprisoned in 2009 after he was interviewed by Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones.
“He wrote a beautiful book about it, and he has honored me and trusted me with telling the story through a script and a movie,” he said.
Watch the video below, courtesy of Mediaite.