‘Jon Stewart of the Arab World’ Bassem Youssef Talks Satire in 2017

“I just made fun of what I saw… and I didn’t really think it would go anywhere.”


This conversation originally aired on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson on November 6, 2017

He’s been called the Jon Stewart of the Arab World. Bassem Youssef is a comedian and commentator who brought a unique brand of political satire to Egypt.

And if you think it might be difficult to be a political satirist in Egypt, you’d be right.

Youssef was exiled from his home and is now working as a comedian in America. 

“Political satire didn’t really exist in the Arab world before the Arab Spring,” Youssef tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson. “Comedy was allowed to exist, but kind of a social comedy. A safe comedy.”

Youssef began recording his thoughts on Youtube, and he quickly became popular.

“I just made fun of what I saw… and I didn’t really think it would go anywhere,” he says. “[But] It got picked up and caught fire.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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