“For this week’s edition of bunker talk, I invited Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef to my sub-Soul Cycle panic room to tell me how the hell you joke about autocracy for longer than two months,” said Bee, as the two scurried past spirited cyclists down a secret bookcase passage way. There, Bee asked Youssef just how bad Americans have it. “If Trump was running for presidency in the Middle East, he would be classified as a tree-hugging liberal,” he said.
Often touted as “the Egyptian Jon Stewart,” (though Bee prefers “Egyptian Samantha Bee”), Youssef’s show was extremely popular in Egypt, with each episode watched by between 30 and 40 million people. “Wow, that’s like ‘Big Bang Theory’ re-run numbers,” quips Bee. But not everyone was a fan; during former president Mohamed Morsi’s rule, Youssef was harassed and arrested by the Muslim Brotherhood. When current president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power, he officially banned Youssef from his homeland.
In addition to providing Bee with a much needed boost in spirits, Youssef is promoting a documentary about his life and career, “Tickling Giants,” now playing in select theaters.
Check out the hilarious (if a bit harrowing) segment below: