Maziar Bahari first appeared on The Daily Show while he was covering the controversial 2009 election in Iran. His satirical interview with correspondent Jason Jones was expectedly tongue-in-cheek, but no more insulting than anything else the show had done (maybe just a little). Yet shortly thereafter, Bahari was arrested and charged with espionage. While the interview didn’t directly lead to Bahari’s imprisonment, the Iranian government used the misunderstood piece in its charges against him. In a follow-up interview later that year, Bahari told Jon Stewart, “I had to laugh. That was my defense mechanism.”
That quote helps put the trailer for Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater, in perspective. As portrayed here by Gael García Bernal, Bahari relied on his sense of humor to help him deal with months of imprisonment by a government wildly interrogating him about his Facebook likes and Internet history. The election and subsequent protests at that time were nothing to joke about, but spending more than 100 days in a solitary cell is much more bearable if you can still find a way to laugh at it all. Rosewater will be in theaters this November.