Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts
June 6th, 2018
A YouTube sensation dubbed the “Jon Stewart of the Arab World,” Bassem Youssef is the creator and former host of the wildly popular TV show Al-Bernameg—the first political satire show in the Middle East and the most watched program in the region from 2011-14 with 30 million viewers every week. Throughout its three seasons, Al-Bernameg remained controversial for its hilarious and bold criticism of the ruling powers. Accused of being “anti-Islam” and insulting the President of Egypt, Youssef was arrested and interrogated before being released on bail. During its final season, the show achieved unprecedented ratings before Youssef announced its termination due to overwhelming political pressures on the show and the airing channel.
In his stage show, The Joke Is Mightier than the Sword, Bassem shares his personal story and his thoughts on the political climate that led to the Arab Spring; its parallels to the current state of American politics; and how propaganda lays the foundation for dictatorial regimes.
Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall