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Bassem Youssef, a satirist who rose to international fame in the middle of the Egyptian Revolution with his incendiary brand of comedy and his knack for unabashedly mocking dictators, has been dubbed “the Jon Stewart of the Arabic world.” In his new book, Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring, Youssef chronicles his transformation from a heart surgeon who filmed YouTube skits in the laundry room of his home to the host and creator of the popular Egyptian television show, AlBernameg (“The Program”). Youssef’s provocative political commentary quickly incensed the authoritarian government, who accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam, and he was arrested and interrogated by the police. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland. Now living in exile in Los Angeles, Youssef will take the ALOUD stage to discusses his tumultuous—and hilarious—journey through a revolution that illuminates how jokes are often mightier than the sword.

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. Originally a 5-minute show on YouTube, AlBernameg became the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week. Throughout its three seasons AlBernameg remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers, which led to tens of lawsuits being filed against the show and its host. In June 2014, Youssef announced the termination of the show due to overwhelming pressures on both the show and the airing channel. 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.

Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery at Cairo University. During the Egyptian Revolution (2011), he assisted the wounded in Tahrir Square. He has passed the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.


Kelly McEvers

Kelly McEvers is a host of NPR’s All Things Considered and of the NPR podcast, Embedded. She was previously a Middle East correspondent for NPR, where she earned multiple awards for her coverage of the Syrian conflict. She has covered the Arab Spring, the war in Iraq, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign PolicyThe New Republic, The New York Review of Books, and Slate. Her radio work has also aired on This American Lifeand the BBC. She lives in Los Angeles.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main Image: Still from TICKLING GIANTS (2016)


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.


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