Frank Buckley Interviews: Bassem Youssef, Political Satirist/Heart Surgeon

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Frank Buckley appears alongside Bassem Youssef.

Bassem Youssef was a heart surgeon in Egypt who rose to fame in 2011 during the Arab Spring protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after becoming a popular political satirist and TV show host. Bassem was known as the Egyptian Jon Stewart while hosting a Daily Show style program “Al-Bernameg” (The Show) that would at one point be seen by 30 million people each week–roughly a third of Egypt’s population.

Bassem went to Tahrir Square to treat the wounded and came to feel that official state media was not portraying the protestors in an accurate way. Bassem began making satirical YouTube videos mocking the media, politicians and celebrities. Within months, he had millions of views and this led to his own TV show. His program marked the first time satire had been directed at government officials and it resulted in lawsuits, Bassem’s arrest, and eventually his sudden departure from Egypt.

During this podcast, Bassem discusses his decision to confront the Egyptian government and media through satire, he comments on the state of Egypt today, and he reveals what he’s up to now in Hollywood as he continues to pursue comedy in America.

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