“A lot of people are annoyed by differences and they are scared of it. … If they can only see how being different enriches a place, a community, it doesn’t take away from it. ” – Bassem Youssef
Today I interviewed Bassem Youssef
Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show AlBernameg – which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. AlBernameg became the first online to TV conversion in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week.
AlBernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart , Colbert and Trevor Noah.
Throughout its three seasons AlBernameg remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers. In recognition of his success, Youssef was named among the Time Magazine most influential list for 2013 – under the “Pioneers” category, was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the CPJ, and was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the global thinkers during the same year.
Youssef left Egypt in November 2014. Since then he has been quite visible in various media and academic circles in the US.
In the spring of 2015 Youssef served resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government for one semester. In the fall of 2016 Youssef was a visiting Scholar at Stanford University at the Center of Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL)
Youssef’s most recent projects include Democracy Handbook; a ten-part series exploring topics of democracy on fusion.net, and the launch of a new book, Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring in the spring of 2017. Bassem has also been the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary movie “Tickling Giants” . In the process of promoting these projects Youssef was hosted repeatedly with Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Larry King and may more television and radio appearances plus being in numerous publications including the New Yorker.
He has hosted the International Emmy Awards gala of 2015, as well as the 49th Carthage Film Festival in Tunis.
Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery. He worked in Cairo University as an attending surgeon. He also passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). Aside of his new found media career Bassem Youssef have started a new global initiative under the name Plant B. He created the only bilingual platform in the world to educate people about how to prevent and reverse chronic diseases through plant based diet. He continues to amass followings to that initiative that now have surpassed over 20 million viewers plus those who follow the platform
In this episode we speak about how:
- He built a writers room when creating a first-of-its kind show in Egypt
- How he started doing standup in the US
- The differences between American and Egyptian comedy
- His new book The Magical Reality of Nadia
Then Bassem teaches Melania learns some Arabic curse words.
To catch up with our guest:
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