Bassem Youssef

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Bassem Youssef (Arabic: باسم يوسف, March 21, 1974-) is an Egyptian heart surgeon and political satirist. A few weeks after former President Mubarak resigned, Bassem Youssef uploaded short, satirical videos on Youtube (Bassem Youssef Show) that mainly demonstrated how biased the media was during the initial 18 days of the uprising. He now has a show on the privately owned TV channel ONTV called El-Bernameg (The Program).
Bassem Youssef (Source: American University in Cairo)
He is known as the "Egyptian Jon Stewart".

He lives in Maadi[1] with his wife, Hala, and daughter, Nadia.


Contents

Education and Career

Bassem Youssef studied medicine at Cairo University and received a PhD in cardiothoracic surgery in 1998.[2] He spent a year and a half in the US working for a company that produces medical equipment related to cardiothoracic surgery. He then stayed in Germany, where he received training in cardiac and lung transplantation.[3] Currently, he is a practicing surgeon and teaches at Cairo University.[4]


After January 25, 2011

Before the Revolution started, Bassem Youssef was planning on moving to the US and working in a hospital in Cleveland; but once the uprisings began, he changed his mind. He heard that the makeshift hospitals in Tahrir Square were in need of doctors, so he immediately went to volunteer. On January 29, 2011, while he was volunteering, Bassem recounts that he "saw people losing their lives and eyesight for the sake of their revolution."

It was after the initial 18 days that Bassem and a few friends decided to launch a Youtube channel on which they posted several episodes, each 5- to 15-minutes long, criticizing Egyptian TV channels and their coverage of the events.[5]

Bassem addresses the people whose statements and reports he uses as material for his show, saying, "We believe in democracy and freedom of speech. You reserve the right to say what you want, and we reserve the right to make fun of you. And because we believe in forgiveness and in giving second chances to those who erred and messed with people's minds, we are also willing to be forgiving, right after we've messed with your minds. So we offer this show to you who wronged the Egyptian people and misled them. And we hope it makes your blood boil."[6] He often says American satirist Jon Stewart is his role model.

Bassem writes his own script but works with a team of young interns who help with the research.[7] The show ultimately aims to revolutionize the way Egyptians think about media and the role it is supposed to play, he said.

But Bassem still tries to be sensible when writing his scripts.“I enforce my own censorship: I don’t make fun of religions and I don’t attack the military," he said.[8]

In September 2011, Bassem received an offer to air his show El-Bernameg on ONTV.[9] His show is also uploaded onto Youtube. He features both well-known politicians and little-known activists on his show as well as continues to poke fun at certain policy makers and the biased Egyptian media.


One Year on

Bassem Youssef is still not sure whether he will continue working for ONTV or any other regional or local channel. “I felt that I could have an impact with this show, that I can serve a certain message here, so I decided to stay”. But, he said, with the situation worsening in Egypt, he is really worried about raising his newborn girl in Egypt.

One year on, he feels cornered; "To him, it seems his work has had little effect on the Egyptian media and its audience."[10]

In June 2012, Bassem traveled to the US where he met and was interviewed by his role model, Jon Stewart.


References

  1. Hennessy-Fiske, Molly and Amro Hassan. "Cultural Exchange: Bassem Youssef is a kind of Egyptian Jon Stewart". Los Angeles Times. June 5, 2011. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/05/entertainment/la-ca-cultural-exchange-20110605 Accessed March 21, 2012
  2. Bassem Youssef's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Bassem-Youssef-Show/133575320045773?sk=info Accessed March 21, 2012
  3. Hassan, Abdalla F. "Surgeon Using Parody to Dissect the News in Egypt." New York Times April 28, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/world/middleeast/28iht-M28C-EGYPT-SHOW.html?_r=1 Accessed March 21, 2012
  4. Bassem Youssef's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Bassem-Youssef-Show/133575320045773?sk=info Accessed March 21, 2012
  5. Assem, Dalia. "Bassem Youssef Show.. Mawhiba Fanniyya Tatafaggar abr al-Internet." Asharq al-Awsat. May 9, 2011. http://aawsat.com/details.asp?section=54&article=620786&issueno=11850 Accessed March 21, 2012
  6. Assem, Dalia. "Bassem Youssef Show.. Mawhiba Fanniyya Tatafaggar abr al-Internet." Asharq al-Awsat. May 9, 2011
  7. Montasser, Farah and Deena Adel. "Revolutionary satire: Bassem Youssef speaks to Ahram Online." Ahram Online. August 29, 2011. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/5/35/19963/Arts--Culture/Stage--Street/Revolutionary-satire-Bassem-Youssef-speaks-to-Ahra.aspx Accessed March 21, 2012
  8. Elkayal, Heba. "Comedy show du jour: Bassem Youssef's Al-Bernameg." The Daily News Egypt. September 7, 2011. http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/radio-a-television/comedy-show-du-jour-bassem-youssefs-al-bernameg.html Accessed March 21, 2012
  9. Morayef, Soraya. "Profile: Bassem Youssef professionalizes satire." Al-Masry al-Youm. February 20, 2012. http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/671991 Accessed March 21, 2012
  10. Morayef, Soraya. "Profile: Bassem Youssef professionalizes satire." Al-Masry al-Youm


Other References

"Akhir Kalam: Bassem Youssef fi Diyafat Yosri Fouda." Youtube. August 17, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rUNz3UsQJI&feature=relmfu Accessed April 2, 2012.

Assem, Dalia. "Bassem Youssef Show.. Mawhiba Fanniyya Tatafaggar abr al-Internet." Asharq al-Awsat. May 9, 2011. http://aawsat.com/details.asp?section=54&article=620786&issueno=11850 Accessed March 21, 2012.

"Bassem Youssef – A “Room” on Youtube." TEDxCairo. June 22, 2011. http://tedxcairo.com/blog/?p=879 Accessed March 21, 2012.

"Bassem Youssef (July 2011)". Enigma Magazine. November 29, 2011. http://www.enigma-mag.com/interview_archives/2011/11/bassem-youssef-july-2011/ Accessed March 21, 2012.

"Bassem Youssef (television host)". Wikipedia. March 20, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bassem_Youssef_(television_host) Accessed March 21, 2012.

Helmy, Farida. "Bassem Youssef". Egypt Today. June 1, 2011. http://egypttoday.com/news/display/article/artId:266/bassem-youssef/secId:2 Accessed March 21, 2012.

Lindsey, Ursula. "Bassem Youssef: Egypt's Jon Stewart." The Daily Beast. March 24, 2011. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/03/25/bassem-youssef-egypts-jon-stewart.html Accessed March 21, 2012.

Marx, Willem. "Bassem Youssef: Egypt's Jon Stewart". Business Week. March 29, 2012. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-29/bassem-youssef-egypts-jon-stewart#p1 Accessed April 15, 2012.


Resources

Bassem Youssef's Twitter account: @DrBassemYoussef

Bassem's Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/bassemyoussefshow

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Bassem-Youssef-Show/133575320045773?sk=info

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