Arabic: باسم رأفت محمد يوسف
Born: Mar. 21, 1974
Satirist, host of El Bernameg
Bassem Youssef is a popular Egyptian satirist, TV host and columnist.
Originally a cardiac surgeon, Youssef began his onscreen career on March 8, 2011 with the B+ Show, which was uploaded to his YouTube channel.
The YouTube show rapidly grew in popularity and led to the first season of El Bernameg, meaning ‘The Program,’ on the satellite channel ONTV in July 2011. Youssef’s popularity boomed as did his viewership with the second season airing in November 2012 on satellite channel CBC.
In June 2013, Youssef hosted Jon Stewart on El Bernameg.
After terminating his contract with CBC, a third season was announced in February 2014, to be aired on MBC Masr, the Middle East Broadcasting Center. MBC suspended the show during the presidential elections campaign of 2014 after broadcasting the first episode. In June 2014, Youssef announced he was ending the show because the political climate in Egypt was too dangerous.
Inspired by Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, Youssef’s show parodied and satirized notable politicians and other public figures across the political spectrum, including former President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and presidential candidates.
His lampooning of the former president resulted in accusations of defaming the president, insulting Islam and spreading false news at the end of 2012. In March 2013, an arrest warrant was issued and he turned himself in to police. Youssef was quickly released on bail and fined.
In his last show, Amreeka Bil Arabi (America in Arabic), which aired in Ramadan 2013, Youssef departed from his usual satirical approach and opted instead for an in-depth examination of Arab Americans living in the U.S.
In 2013, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
In January 2015, Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP), at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, announced Bassem Youssef as a Resident Fellow during the spring semester.
In November 2015, Youssef hosted the 43rd International Emmy Awards in New York City.