As the host of Al Bernameg (The Show) from 2011 to 2013, Youssef became known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart” for similarly using satire as a weapon to call out the hypocrisy he saw in the Egyptian government during the revolution. At its peak, the show saw a combined 184 million viewers on TV and online. Jon Stewart even appeared on it. He was the most famous man in Egypt, that is until the government silenced him. Soon after Youssef was forced to end the show, a court issued him a penalty of $10 million dollars for his subversive material. Youssef and his family fled to the U.S., eventually settling in LA.
Any of this have a tinge of familiarity? Fake news is straight out of the Egyptian handbook. Lucky for us, we have the chance to learn from him. Youssef recently published a memoir, Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring, and a recent documentary, Tickling Giants, also charts his trajectory. FilmAid, an organization devoted to helping refugees tell their stories and advocate for their communities, honored Youssef with its 2017 Community Leadership Award during a reception at Top of The Standard.
We sat down with Youssef to talk a bit about the wild ride.