Considered the “Jon Stewart of Egypt,” Bassem Youssef’s take on the Daily Show – called “Al Bernameg” – was must-watch television during the Arab Spring. But mounting political pressure took its toll and the comedian left his show (and his country) in 2014, and moved to California with his family.
Mr. Youssef has kept busy since moving to the States and has a new project, a web series debuting July 14th on Fusion called “The Democracy Handbook” which takes a look at American life and politics from a unique point of view (ahem, Mr. Youssef’s). “When I went out in the field and I spoke, for example, to Trump supporters, it kind of resonated with me because I heard the exact same things back home with empty, fake patriotism, demagogic speeches, empty rhetoric,” Mr. Youssef remarked. “It’s as if we are talking in an echo chamber. It doesn’t make sense… but it does for them.”
As a Muslim and Arab, Mr. Youssef offers a fresh perspective to the American audience. “I think what I want to achieve with this new show, first of all, is to have people think about topics in depth in a different way from a different perspective. And second, I’m an outsider. I’m a Middle Easterner with a very obvious accent. I hope people accept me to talk about their issues.”