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Egyptian television personality Bassem Youssef explores the role of satire in revolution

September 1, 2016

mac-bassemyoussef
Bassem Youssef

Known as the “Jon Stewart of the Arab world,” Egyptian satirist and television personality Bassem Youssef will discuss the role of satire in revolution in “The Joke Is Mightier Than the Sword,” on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Youssef was a cardiac surgeon in Egypt when he created and hosted “AlBernameg,” the first-of-its-kind political satire television show in the Middle East that aired from 2011-2014. Originally a five-minute show on YouTube, “AlBernameg” became the most popular show in Egypt’s history, with an average of 30 million viewers every week.

Comedian Jon Stewart and his television show, “The Daily Show,” inspired Youssef to begin his career, and the two have guest starred on each other’s programs.

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Throughout its three seasons, “AlBernameg” remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers, which led to many 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.

The “AlBernameg” team held a press conference in June 2014, and Youssef announced the termination of the show due to overwhelming pressures on both the show and the airing channel.  

In 2013 Youssef was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time magazine and one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “100 Leading Global Thinkers.” He also received the International Press Freedom Award in 2013 from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Youssef served as resident fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics for the 2015 spring semester. During his stay in the U.S., he appeared twice as a senior Middle East correspondent on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, commenting on the recent political situation in the region. He recently hosted the 2015 International Emmy Awards gala, as well as the 49th Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia.

Youssef’s most recent projects include creating “Democracy Handbook,” a 10-part online video series exploring topics of democracy on fusion.net, and launching the book “Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring,” which will be available in the spring of 2017.

Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam, and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Immediately following the performance, Youssef will be available in the Moss Arts Center Grand Lobby for a free book signing event.

During his visit, Youssef will participate in an informal question-and-answer session with Virginia Tech students from a variety of academic disciplines, including residents of the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston. The dialogue will be moderated by Carmen Gitre, assistant professor in the Department of History.

Prior to the performance, artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle will give an artist talk in the Moss Arts Center’s Merryman Family Learning Studio beginning at 6:30 p.m. An exhibition of Hinkle’s work will be on view in the center’s Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor beginning September 8.

Tickets

Tickets for the performance are $25 for general admission and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kmcallis@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to an event.

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