Exiled from Cairo: Humor as Dissent
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.