At the start of the Arab Spring in Egypt, I decided to leave my job as a heart surgeon to become a late-night comedian. We wanted to find a creative, non-violent way to protect free speech and fight a president who abused his power.

I am the subject of Tickling Giants (100 on RT!), a new documentary directed by a senior producer at The Daily Show. You can buy the movie on iTunes. (It's un-rated by the MPAA, just like this AMA.) I also have a new podcast show ("ReMade In America" presented by CAFE) which features interviews with prominent figures, immigrants and citizens alike. Building on the kinship of being strangers in a strange land, I am to tackle a variety of topics relevant to the American experience: including identity, divisiveness and belonging, and hopefully induce a few laughs along the way.



Comments: 192 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

AmalRaja36 karma

I'm doing a PowerPoint on you for my Arabic class, anything you'd like me to include?

BassemYoussef56 karma

a nice looking photo?

BassemYoussef27 karma

Thank you everyone! Signing off....

staysoft26 karma

I liked the sketch you did with college humour! Do you find it annoying when so many people ask you about your old profession ?

BassemYoussef45 karma

no because that is part of my life and I am proud to have been a doctor

Longs_4_Edith_Stokes26 karma

Do you miss medicine?

BassemYoussef25 karma

not at all :)

the_mkm8919 karma

خدت السبعة مليار يا باسييييم؟
Sorry I had to :P
Love you Bassem and I hope to see you back on TV soon

BassemYoussef14 karma


Redglasesguy17 karma

Hey Bassem, how much politics do you think went behind the Egyptian national team's stay at Grozny? Do you think we (Egyptians) can ever have a successful person without the country trying to kick them out?

BassemYoussef25 karma

the whole thing was shameful, i THINK A LOT OF politics went into it, cant decide to what extend

Chtorrr17 karma

What are your feelings on pineapple as a pizza topping?

BassemYoussef62 karma

an atrocity

TheArnaout15 karma

Saba7 elfoll ya Bassem,

fellow Egyptian here, big fan of the Barnameg show, still watch it to this day, really sad that you had to quit

My question is what is your outlook regarding Egypt in the short & long term if it continues with the current leadership's vision?

Would it be an overstatement to call it a sinking ship and that we should abandon it if we could?

I really wanna be hopeful but I can't seem to find anything to be hopeful for...

BassemYoussef29 karma

sinking ship sounds about right

pharmacopt13 karma

Bassem what do you think is the solution to the current state of affairs in Egypt? How can the opposition form an alliance strong enough to topple the military and brotherhood? How long will it take for them to realise that the economy is not going to improve unless you improve education, literacy and the mindset of corrupt unethical politicians? Are there any news about Wael Abbas?

BassemYoussef30 karma

it is not about just education, it is about a military junta who are willing to destroy the country if they are not in power (eg Syria) don't know where to start. unfortunately wael and others are still in custoday and detention illegally of course

reader31310 karma

Did you buy Twitter followers? It says you have 10 million but your posts rarely generate many engagements.

BassemYoussef26 karma

this really bugs me too, i never bought any followers, but you are right I think many are bots, in Egypt it is a common practice to have fake accounts

SadafAkbary9 karma

I have a great story peace for your podcast about the American experience and feeling out of place.
What’s the best way to send suggestions?

BassemYoussef12 karma

call the number provided and tell us

alielsaeed8 karma

what will Sisi's downfall be like?

BassemYoussef25 karma

who knows, another coup, an assasination, but not peaceful

Joek-ster8 karma

Hey bassem, would you ever consider going back to doing shows in egypt? Maybe not politics related since thats what caused you trouble? Or do you not see yourself diverging from political humor?

BassemYoussef13 karma


ramy_eskander7 karma

Every day more Egyptians start to diverge from supporting the regime. Do you think this is a good sign, or you find it just a hopeless case?

BassemYoussef12 karma

a good sign but again there are dictatroships in the world that hold their citizens under an iron grip, so more should we done,

MWooChan7 karma

Will you have any talk show soon looks like your Old talk Show * the Pernamg * and if you are planning for new talk show , will you talk on it about Egypt problems and this stuff again ?
sorry for my English again .

BassemYoussef10 karma

I am focused on the political life in America

boltzmann006 karma

Hi Bassem! Watching what happen in Egypt I am really sorry about how things went down; however, I can't help but think that you were used in a way by president Sisi's regime to use your satire to normalize some of the crimes they committed as a part of their larger scheme to take over Egypt. And then to sort of threaten-ban you when they didn't need you anymore. Do you think there is any validity to this? If so how didn't you see that coming and if you go back in time what would you have done to prevent it?

BassemYoussef11 karma

suggesting that I was used is ridiculous, and you sitting here saying "oh how didnt you see it" as if you are an oracle is arrogant. if any one was used it was the islamists who were in bed with the army and they licked their shoes and if you dont beleive me go back to their shpws and see theor rhtoric. i did my job as a satirist and i STAYED A WHOLE YEAR STATRISIZING Sissi and his regime and his kifta machine and his media, the fact that one was stronger than the other in killing free speech is not my fault. and no i WOULD NEVER CHANGE A THING

AncientConcentrate6 karma

your favorite movie and tv show ?

BassemYoussef27 karma

Shawshank Redemption WEstword

RedaWahba20146 karma

How does it feel to start all over again in a far country away from the people you knew all your life?

BassemYoussef13 karma

scary and yet very exciting

hamzaouiii6 karma

Hi bassem, could I please get your opinion on the fact that a Moroccan court sentenced political activits for 20 years in prison each, today?

BassemYoussef15 karma

that is horrible of course, no ME country seems to be exempt from tyranny

Mody_485 karma

If you have the ability to change any of the decision you made that lead to this moment, What decision do you regret and wish to change ?

BassemYoussef8 karma

not a single thing

thatsonelongusername5 karma

Egyptian here. Would you advise a young Egyptian to stay inside the country and try to make the best out of the circumstances, or would you advise to leave at the first opportunity?

In other words, do you think there's any hope for things to get better in the near future?

BassemYoussef11 karma

if you have a chance, leave

dahero644 karma

Favourite sketch you did on the daily show?

BassemYoussef5 karma

Just being in the presence of jon Stewart is a treat by itself

randvoo124 karma

Being BASSEM YOUSSEF , you must have seen some weird shit from famous people in media and/or politics , so what's the most fucked up shit you've seen from an Egyptian household name ? (i promise i'd only tell my friends )

BassemYoussef6 karma

can't tell :)

fh15054 karma

Are you planning on holding any events in the UK, Bassem?

BassemYoussef9 karma

if I get invited to so a show there yes

eleraky4 karma

Hi Bassem, love you from Port Said!

Looking at what Egypt got into under the 3ars, if you could go back in time, would you change anything about criticizing Morsi’s regime? I’m not saying not fight them, they were horrible af, but would you be more cautious in your approach to the audience? Also, do you think if 30/6 hadn’t happen, would Egypt be in a better situation today? Cause I keep asking myself..

BassemYoussef13 karma

i wouldnt change anything, remember the Islamists had their media too, and they were using religion to attack me and the others, i think 30/6 would have happened anyways, it is the fault of the islamists they had the power and they abused it, don't blame it on a satirical show

shambibble4 karma

Who was the better Egyptian President, Gamal Nasser or Abdel Nasser?

BassemYoussef8 karma



Hi bassem I'm an iraqi living in Jordan and you and a lot of comedians like Jon Stewart, Ahmad Albasheer and Dave Chappell are a huge influences in my life and I wanted to thank you for being awsome My first question is what is your advice for the comedian youth starting out in publicly conservative places like the middle east and how can they handle doing satire about taboo subjects like politics and religion.

And also who would you like to have as a guest on your podcast?

BassemYoussef5 karma

it is tough and challenging . My advice is to do it, but you need to be careful about your personal safety above all else


Who's your favorite Hollywood actor?

BassemYoussef11 karma

Al Pacino

NTMazit3 karma

Do you miss Egypt at all? If you got a chance would you go back and restart your show?

BassemYoussef3 karma


fh15053 karma

How's plant-based diet going Bassem? I've been following you back from the Youtube days and loved your recent democracy handbook series. Also, how open are you about making an online resource on healthy eating/plant-based diet?

BassemYoussef7 karma

PLANT BASED DIET is going great, yes i intend to do a short docuseries about it soon

Mohammad_Alsafty3 karma

What is the last book you read?

BassemYoussef15 karma

1984 for the third time

issamr3 karma

Hey Bassem

Any plans of doing stand up shows?

And who’s your favorite comedian?

BassemYoussef9 karma

already doing them, George Carlin

issamr3 karma

George Carlin is a legend and I hope someday you will be one too.

How can we see your stand up shows ?

BassemYoussef6 karma

will be in NY soon

knightofthenextday3 karma

What do you think of the freedom of speech situation in Turkey right now?

BassemYoussef6 karma

better than many Arab countries, but i don't like Erdogan direction, also many jounralists have been jailed

LargeMonty3 karma

Jon Stewart has been out of the game for a while now. Is there any one else you aspire to be in the same regard?

I like Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert. Stewart's replacement is Trevor Noah but he's not the best thing in late night IMO.

BassemYoussef9 karma

I have to say I like all of them, I learn different styles and different energies and techniques from each

kabourayan3 karma

Do you have any hope in Egypt? I feel that the darkest hours didn't even start yet.

BassemYoussef9 karma

yes, but it might take time

TheFirstAndrew2 karma

Bassem - thank you for all you've done, from the bottom of my heart.

Moving forwards, what do you view as the biggest threat to free speech currently, and how do you advise opposing that?

BassemYoussef3 karma

oppose it by voting out the people who have been in office because of the hateful speech votes

ozonejl2 karma

I kept pretty close tabs on the Arab Spring, especially Egypt, and I laughed in amazement at the hamfisted, transparent asshole leaders like Mubarak. Then I watched the globe respond to Syrian refugees not with compassion and help but with right wing xenophobia. Now America has the stupidest and least qualified elected head of state in you feel like it's kind of karmic turnabout for the west's meddling in MENA and how annoying is it to have happened right after you moved here?

BassemYoussef4 karma

I am lucky to be in LA a very liberal city so not very annoyed, yet I am thinking about this Karma thing

Ouroborus0032 karma

What are your thoughts on Philosophy? And What is your humour like?

BassemYoussef2 karma

My humor is aleasy about politics, maybe a bit limiting but i enjoy it

beirouti2 karma

If you were to be the president of the United States, what are the things you would first do?

BassemYoussef7 karma

put Trump in Jail (after a fair trial of course :)

Mody_482 karma

Will you consider making an online live show ? if it was funded by a patreon, twitch subscriber as an example or a merch store.

BassemYoussef16 karma

I prefer to do it with a streaming service like netflix

ziadhesham2 karma

Hey bassem really big fan of you and missed you alot that i rewatch the old episodes every couple of months here is some questions i was curious about -Did you get an offer from the comedy show to continue after jon Stewart? -You said that the king of Saudi arab was involced in shuting you down how was that ? -Do you consider spend more time at reddit i mean like starting a subreddit or any way to communicate with your reddit fan ?

BassemYoussef2 karma

no offer from comedy central many regimes were invovled not thinking about subreddit now

BassemYoussef2 karma

no offer many were involved no plans for subreddit

TallerThanKevinHart2 karma

Are you enjoying your time in America? Any future projects in the making?

BassemYoussef5 karma

yes very maybe get my own show?

CoolMediaInc2 karma

Hey Bassem! Love your podcast and collaboration with CollegeHumour :D Hope your Reddit experience is awesome!

  1. Were you the “funny kid” growing up?

  2. What do Egyptians find funny? I’ve recently been living in Japan and no one here gets self-deprecating comedy.

  3. You know your eyes are amazing, right?

BassemYoussef8 karma

1 I was a bit funny 2. Egyptians like many others enjoy jokes about sex, politcs and religion 3. thank you

Finalzoz2 karma

Hi Bassem! Thanks for doing this AMA! I'm a huge fan, and fell in love with the show since the episode you talked about the girl who got beaten in Tahrir Square, and you were basically the only one on TV to stand up for her. My questions:

  1. When you started doing YouTube videos, did you ever imagine reaching what you reached today?
  2. Do you have any regrets since our revolution? or rather, would you do anything differently if you could?
  3. Do you have any hope that Egypt could make a U-turn and become ours again?

Thank you.

BassemYoussef3 karma

  1. never dreamed of that
  2. no regrets
  3. we have to have hope but maybe things will not change soon, who knows

TallerThanKevinHart2 karma

Hi Bassem, I'm a 20 year old college student living in Munich (Egyptian tho el7amdulellah tab3an). My question is, would you ever consider going back to Egypt if you could, even after everything that happened to you? And I also wanted to thank you for your show I hope the best for you. (And by going back I don't mean to AlBernameg, just Egypt in general)

BassemYoussef6 karma


Eli_Siav_Knox1 karma

Hi Bassem. After moving to America from an authoritarian state like Egypt what are feeling about what is going on in America right now? Politically and in terms of civil liberties. I am from another similarly authoritarian country originally too( although we just pulled off a massively successfull and peacefull revolution), so I would be interested to hear your persepective.

BassemYoussef5 karma

At least in America people can change things up every two years, it is not a perfect democracy but if enough people moved they can make a difference

coryrenton1 karma

Are there any other famous "X of the Middle East"? Is there a Jay Leno or Conan of the Middle East?

BassemYoussef2 karma

so far no

ashroof__1 karma

Tefteker Fe amal fe masr delwa2ty aw 7ata fel 5 seneen l gayeen wala 5alas hopeless case?

BassemYoussef2 karma

maybe who knows

[deleted]1 karma


BassemYoussef3 karma

i have answered this too many times already

randvoo121 karma

Bassem , in 2015 there was this twitter quarrel between you and your "friend" Youssef El houseny , in which he hinted that you were paid to stop attacking the Egyptian regime (sit at home in his words) , now, was that true ? and if so how much were you paid and by whom? If not ,with you safely residing in LA why stop roasting the regime with all the dumb shit that is currently going on in Egypt ?

BassemYoussef12 karma

accusing people that they "got paid" is an easy way to smear people, pn the contraryI have refused many bribes from teh regimes. I might be in LA but there are family members that weere threatened because of me, and they can pay the price for my actions, would you do that to your family?

BassemYoussef11 karma

I still have family members in egypt that can be hurt because of me, also being paid is a ridiculous bullshit claim, on the contrary I refused to be bribed many times by the regime