Bassem Youssef Is Still Laughing

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The Jon Stewart of Egypt, Bassem Youssef, joins us to talk about Islam, America and the world.

Bassem Youssef (Courtesy)
Bassem Youssef (Courtesy)

Bassem Youssef is a brave, funny, famous comedian often called the Jon Stewart of Egypt. Famed across the Arab world. He was there in the thick of the Arab Spring, when uprising and hope swept the region. When Jon Stewart himself came to Cairo to be on his show. And when it all began to come apart. Now, Bassem Youssef is in exile in the USA. Still looking at the Arab world, but also looking at us, Americans. Our travel bans and hopes and fears. This hour, On Point: Bassem Youssef, and the world. — Tom Ashbrook


Bassem Youssef, comedian, satirist, surgeon. Host of "Democracy Handbook." Former host of "Al-Bernameg." author of "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring." His story is told in the documentary "Tickling Giants." (@Byoussef)

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The Denver Post: Bassem Youssef and the power of  satire — "Youssef and his staff display a kind of courage not required of U.S. political commentators as they face threats by the Morsi and el-Sisi governments, angry clerics, angrier mobs, and even their own television station. Tickling Giants is more than an entertaining film about an exceptionally funny man or a touching portrait of Egyptians as they struggle through the Arab Spring and its aftermath; the film is a poignant tribute to free speech and the subversive power of political satire."

Rolling Stone: How 'Egypt's Jon Stewart' went from public enemy to TV star -- "As hard as it to believe, Youssef had no performing experience before he began making YouTube videos in 2011 at the age of 37. He was charismatic and quick with a joke, and his work as a cardiologist brought him to the U.S. on several occasions; during one of his visits, he found Jon Stewart on TV and fell in love with The Daily Show. Beyond vague fantasies of having his own show, though, he had no idea what was to come."

Huffington Post: An Interview with Egyptian Satirist Bassem Youssef — "It is not the same place anymore. So when people say, “do you miss Egypt?” I say, well the Egypt that I miss does not exist anymore. What I have done and what I achieved is not there anymore. The people that I relate most to are not there. Even the mood that I had there, it has ceased to exist. So it is a totally different place."

Read an Excerpt of "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring" by Bassem Youssef

From the book Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring by Bassem Youssef. Copyright ©2017 by Bassem Youssef. Reprinted by permission of Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

This program aired on March 21, 2017.


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