Going through Jon Stewart withdrawal? You’re in luck. The once-and-future Daily Show host — who is in the Middle East filming his feature-film directorial debut, Rosewater, while John Oliver keeps his seat warm — paid a visit to his Egyptian counterpart for a 20-minute interview that was equal parts serious and hilarious.
Bassem Youssef — who hosts his own satirical news show, Al-Bernameg (The Program), and is referred to as “The Jon Stewart of the Arab World” — was accused in April of insulting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Islamic faith and had a warrant issued for his arrest. Stewart jumped to Youssef’s defense and had him on The Daily Show at the time, and Stewart was happy to return the favor.
When Youssef pointed out that Stewart is “jobless” and asked what he was doing in the Middle East, Stewart responded, “As you know, my people like to wander the desert.” Stewart cracked plenty of jokes throughout the chat (at one point asking if Egypt had ever “considered traffic lights”), but he also fiercely defended Youssef’s right to satire. “If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime,” Stewart said to loud applause. “A joke is a joke. There’s an expression — I don’t know if you have it — that’s ‘adding insult to injury.’ Yes, maybe [a joke] is an insult, but it is not an injury. A joke has never ridden a motorcycle into a crowd with a baton. A joke has never shot tear gas into a group of people in a park. It’s just talk.”
Watch the full interview below:
Stewart returns to The Daily Show in August.