Bassem Youssef and Ahmed Ahmed: The Risk and Rewards of Satire

April 13, 2015

While Bassem Youssef’s satirical voice has made him widely known as the Egyptian Jon Stewart, merely five years ago Youssef was a heart surgeon broadcasting humorous political commentary on YouTube from his laundry room. His videos soon exploded in popularity, and by 2011 he had moved his satirical show to television. In 2012 Jon Stewart invited Youssef to join him on The Daily Show, and shortly thereafter in 2013 Time Magazine named Bassem Youssef one of the “100 most influential people in the world.” Unfortunately, some would like to see his influence muted, and the political climate in Egypt has made it too dangerous for Youssef to continue producing his show.

On Point of Inquiry this week, Youssef is joined by international comedian Ahmed Ahmed and host Josh Zepps, and the three of them discuss the role of satire in provoking real political change. Ahmed, like Yousself, has had to learn the hard way that satirists walk a fine line between pushing boundaries while trying not to break them.

Youssef is currently working with a senior producer at The Daily Show to create a documentary about Youssef’s journey of standing up to an entire regime with his fearless comedy, entitled Tickling Giants.