Poking fun at anarchy

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef takes a biting look at the Arab Spring and Mideast turmoil.

By BEN FISHER
May 11, 2017 19:04
3 minute read.
Bassem Youssef

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef talks during a news conference in Cairo in 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Bassem Youssef, the Cairo native heart surgeon-cum-comedian, is often referred to as the Egyptian Jon Stewart. It’s a fitting comparison when watching the two crack jokes on the green screen, but on the page, Youssef more resembles Arab-Israeli author Sayed Kashua.

Both writers are bitingly and wryly funny, extremely self-deprecating (“I hope you didn’t regret paying for [this] damn thing,” he writes in the book’s acknowledgments, “or that you can find a way to claim a tax deduction come April”) and completely certain that nothing good will befall the respective places they call home.

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