GET TO KNOW A SATIRIST: BASSEM YOUSSEF - THE EGYPTIAN JON STEWART
Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian comedian and former host of AlBernameg ('The Show'), a comedy show modeled after The Daily Show. He is a very intelligent and funny man, with a special and inspiring story that more people should know about.
- •He was a heart surgeon back in Egypt, when in 2011, after the revolution that overthrew Egyptian president Mubarak, he started making a satire show on YouTube, shot in his home. He gave up medicine when he was invited to turn the webisodes into a weekly TV series: AlBernameg. It became the most popular TV series in Egypt’s history.
- •Morsi, who was elected president after Mubrak’ fell, didn’t exactly appreciate being satirized. In 2013, Morsi accused him of insulting the president and insulting Islam. An arrest warrant was issued for Youssef. He turned himself in and was interrogated for six hours before being released on bail.Jon Stewart dedicated an 11-minute segment to it, which explains the whole situation: https://youtu.be/LyDOAQNsTrI
- •After he returned to his show, president Morsi was overthrown and replaced by a military regime, who, surprise, didn't enjoy being made fun of either. They had Al Bernameg cancelled. This was a reason for Youssef to leave Egypt.
- •Before it was outlawed, Jon Stewart made an appearance on AlBerbameg while he was in the Middle East to shoot his film Rosewater.It is a very interesting, funny, and insightful interview, and very much worth the watch. You can check it out right here: https://youtu.be/kEO2Rd3sJbA
- •One of his most succesful pieces was about a claim the Egyptian government made about having an 'AIDS Machine,' which could cure AIDS and hepatits C."People were actually waiting for me every week to mention something about the machine. And we did because they promised the people that in six months, the machine would be ready for mass consumption. And we were actually having a timer, a countdown timer to remind people that, you know, it's already three months now and we're waiting. And I think maybe this is one of the reasons why we were stopped because we were holding the people in power accountable for what they said."
- •He became a contributor on The Daily Show, giving his insights about the Middle East.
- •He made the Time 100 list in 2013. In honor of that, Jon Stewart wrote the following about him:
- •He is currently working on a satirical series for Fusion called 'The Democracy Handbook,' which follows him as he comes to America to learn the lessons of democracy, so he can import them back to The Middle East. It will air on July 7th.I'm very excited to check it out.
- •Earlier this year he was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR. If you're interested after reading this list, I highly recommend giving it a read/listen. This is also where the quote about the AIDS Machine came from.