Four years ago, Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi, the co-creators of the Iranian satirical news show Parazit, joined Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. They were the night's featured guests, and for good reason: in spite of tough government censorship in Iran, the U.S.-based Hosseini (the host of Parazit) and Arbabi (his producer) reached 19 million Iranians* with their biting satire of the country's leaders.
"It's all you, Jon. We're getting everything from you," Hosseini said.
It's an extreme accomplishment for Hosseini and Arbabi. But when Stewart asked about the comedic pacing of Parazit, they gave him the credit. "It's all you, Jon. We're getting everything from you," Hosseini said during the Daily Show appearance. "You are the prophet. You are the prophet. You are the prophet. Give it up for Jon Stewart, everybody!" The crowd roared.
Stewart replied, in his self-effacing manner, "You calling me a prophet will in no way get me in trouble, will it?"
Satire is older than Jon Stewart. But Stewart's presentation of it—a "fake" newscast format that holds powerful figures accountable for facts and ridiculous behavior—has become a model for comedians in countries where the free speech stakes are higher. This might be his most significant and lasting broadcast legacy, and the most important idea The Daily Show has diffused across the world.