The ‘Jon Stewart’ Of The Middle East Escapes Egyptian Oppression To Show America What Democracy Looks Like

For many, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show really ended long before Trevor Noah took over last year, when Jon Stewart left the program.

The Daily Show host was single-handedly responsible for boosting the careers of many who got their start on the show, who would later have their own major shows and/or become much bigger names, such as Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Larry Willmore, and Bassem Youssef who made an appearance last week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, to announce his new show Democracy Handbook for the Fusion network.

Yes, Daily Show fans will remember Bassem Youseff from when Jon Stewart first responded to the comparison made between him and Bassem, when he was being referred to as Egypt’s “Jon Stewart,” by bringing Bassem on as a guest back in 2012.

Over time, Jon Stewart would also bring him back on The Daily Show to do bits about the oppressive Egyptian government, and from that point on, they developed a strong relationship, until their bond and potentially Bassem’s life would be threatened by the Egyptian government’s new dictatorship under President Mohammed Morsi.

The satirical program was called Al-Bernameg and ran from 2011 until 2014, with a similar format that The Daily Show made famous.

in 2013, el-Sisi supporters burn image of Al-Bernameg host Bassem Youssef, saying that he’s offensive. [Image by Amr Nabil/AP Photo]
Youssef’s comedy would suffer through some of Egypt’s most pivotal moments, starting with the Arab spring, which was what would eventually overthrow the Egypt’s president who had ruled for 30-years, President Mubarak. When Mubarak was finally ousted, it gave Bassem Youssef’s program the ability to exist before the newly elected President Morsi began to crack down.

If this were not enough, Morsi would also be overthrown by his own Defense Minister, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, causing Bassem to completely shut down his show, in reality fearing for his life.

The Daily Show host Jon Stewart talking with Al-Bernameg host Bassem Youssef at a dinner honoring oppressed journalists in 2013 in New York. [Image by Michael Nagle/Getty Images]
It’s been widely reported that the new regime under el-Sisi is just as it was under Mubarak, where public protest is no longer allowed or even tolerated. The previous President Morsi was arrested and has apparently been given the penalty of death, as have many who have been arrested for standing up against the government or are said to be part of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, who are labeled as “terrorists.”

There have been raids throughout Egypt since he’s been in office, arresting many more, and some protesters have even been killed, such as in an article The Inquisitr published on International Woman’s Day.

Toward the end of Bassem Youssef’s Al-Bernameg, however, Jon Stewart ended up returning the favor by making an appearance on Youssef’s program in 2013.

Since Bassem Youssef left his show, he has made some appearances over the years, cautiously hiding his sense of humor and for the most part keeping quiet about his plans, causing many to wonder what this talented surgeon-turned-comedian would do under an oppressive regime.

As he revealed in his recent interview on Colbert’s show, he’s now living in the United States, reasonably safe from the Egyptian government, in order to capitalize on an unconventional election year with his new show!

In February Variety reported on Youssef’s new satirical show, which takes him across the nation, covering certain issues across 50 states in a humorous way. And he expresses how excited he is for the new program.

Discussing, exposing and satirizing the political scene here in the States is something I am very excited about and hopefully I will be able to get Fusion in trouble along the way!

Thus far, Bassem Youssef has covered the open carry movement, corporate plutocracy, church and state, and even put a group of Bernie Sanders supporters through training on what starting a real revolution is like, as he’s very well had his hand in one of the biggest ones to happen across the Middle East.

For those who might feel they’ve lost The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bassem Youssef’s Democracy Handbook also has the help of a former producer for the Comedy Central program, Kathy Egan, to help get some of that flavor back.

[Image by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images]

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