‘Daily Show’ host breaks for Iran film
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‘Daily Show’ host breaks for Iran film

John Oliver to anchor in Jon Stewart’s stead while popular comedian directs movie based on Iranian journalist’s ordeal

Jon Stewart and Jon Oliver on the Daily Show. (Screen Capture)
Jon Stewart and Jon Oliver on the Daily Show. (Screen Capture)

Jon Stewart is starting a summer-long break from anchoring “The Daily Show” on June 10. But it won’t be a holiday — he’ll be in the Middle East, making his first movie.

While he’s away, Stewart said, he’ll miss hosting the Comedy Central faux-newscast. “People clap for me!” he said. “That doesn’t happen just anywhere.”

Stewart will be directing and producing “Rosewater” from his own script, based on the 2011 memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival,” by Maziar Bahari.

Bahari is an Iranian journalist whom the Iranian government falsely accused of being a spy and then imprisoned in 2009, while he was covering Iran’s presidential election.

Shortly before his arrest in Iran, Bahari was part of a “sketch” on the “Daily Show” with correspondent Jason Jones, who pretended to be a  secret agent seeking information. The Iranian authorities used the clip against Bahari during his questioning.

Pressed for more details about the film, Stewart quipped, “I haven’t seen it yet. But I hear it’s good.”

In Stewart’s absence, correspondent John Oliver will handle anchor duties. Stewart is scheduled to return on September 3.

Oliver said he was excited about taking over as host and had no hesitations, but when he was approached about the job there was a moment of panic.

“I’ll do anything for him, whether it’s hosting this show or disposing of a body. I guess I was just happy it was the first of those two choices, and I wasn’t taking a trip to the East River under the cover of darkness. On the phone with him, I was saying, I’ll do it. It was only upon hanging up that my legs started to buckle. I thought, What have I just agreed to?” the British-born comedian told The New York Times.

“It’s like a Nascar driver giving keys to his car to a member of his pit crew. I fundamentally understand how the engine works — I just never have driven it that fast before,” added Oliver.

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