Dr. Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show AlBernameg – which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show on YouTube, AlBernameg became the first online to TV conversion in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week.
AlBernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart twice in June 2012 and April 2013. Throughout its three seasons AlBernameg remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers, which led to tens of lawsuits being filed against the show and its host. Youssef was even issued an arrest warrant in March 2013 and turned himself in the next day where he was questioned for five hours and released on bail. In recognition of his success, Youssef was named among the Time Magazine most influential list for 2013 – under the “Pioneers” category, was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the CPJ, and was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the global thinkers during the same year.
He is also the star of an internationally renowned documentary by Sara Taksler titled “Tickling Giants” featuring Youssef’s story with AlBernameg. Youssef has recently released a book about his experience “Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring” where he gives different perspectives and insights on the Egyptian political scene through the Arab spring and after.
Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). Having practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Egypt for a period of 13 years, before moving into comedy and political satirism.
If casting a questioning light on the ruling powers with humor and satire isn’t enough, Bassem has also launched Plant B TV. It is an excellent educational series of videos about the enormous value of a plant based diet. There is a 21 day challenge, recipes, expert interviews, and much more on this bilingual website. In my opinion, the best part is it highlights Bassem’s humor and energy to motivate change. What more could you ask for? You can find Bassem here.
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