Political commentator and humorist Molly Ivins once called satire the “weapon of the powerless against the powerful.”
Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian comedian, writer, producer, and former cardiac surgeon, sought to use that tool in 2011 during the Egyptian revolution. Frustrated with the media’s portrayal of the movement, which many thought painted the protests in a hostile light, Youssef took a cue from Comedy Central’s playbook and began hosting a show on YouTube inspired by Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.
His show became an internet, and then network television sensation. In 2013, he was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Simultaneously, he was the target of formal complaints made on behalf of the Egyptian government for disturbing the peace of the public.
As the United States navigates differentiating opinions on governing, Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib was honored to introduce Youssef to a large crowd at Seattle’s Moore Theatre.
Youssef has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart numerous times. Notably, he also continued his original reporting and satirical take on the news in Egypt for years, despite the threat of numerous lawsuits and interrogation by the Egyptian government. He was awarded the International Press Freedom Award in 2013, along with three other journalists, by the Committee to Protect Journalists, and has passed the United States Medical License Exam. He is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.