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Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef might make comeback with US digital show

The renowned satirist insists he would not produce El-Bernameg outside of Egypt; he is also planning a movie project dubbed 'The Comedy of Arabs'

Menna Alaa El-Din, Wednesday 16 Dec 2015
Bassem Youssef
Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef (Photo: AP)
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Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef said he might make a comeback with a digital show with Fusion, an American multi-platform media company. 

In an interview with the weekly American Variety magazine given during the Dubai International Film Festival, Youssef said the show with Fusion will be a ‘little experiment’, where democracy from a Middle Eastern perspective inside America will be humorously and informatively discussed.

Youssef, who hasn't been in Egypt for 13 months, said he’s planning a move to the United States from Dubai.

The Egyptian satirist, whose popular weekly show El-Bernameg (The Programme) on Egyptian television was cancelled in 2014, said that while he had his own problems with the Islamist regime which ruled Egypt prior to July 2013, his sense of humour was not tolerated by the government that removed the Islamic regime, so someone pulled the plug on El-Bernameg.  

Youssef said he has decided to not produce El-Bernameg outside of Egypt despite remunerative offers.

“This show belongs to Egypt, to an Egyptian team, to an Egyptian audience in the heart of Cairo. And I’m not going to be a dissident, a fugitive who is going to be doing the show from outside the country. I think if I’m not there, it sends a much clearer message about how things are,” Youssef explained.

Youssef spoke about his future plans, including a movie project, titled “The Comedy of Arabs,” to be produced in the US.

"There is a movie I’m trying to do in the United States called 'The Comedy of Arabs.' It’s written by two Jewish people and two Muslims, and we have not killed each other yet…Give us time," Youssef joked.

"I think if this movie is done well, if we find a good director, we could do for our community what Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy did for the African-American community.

“You know what? It’s not like (we are) either ISIS or people who don’t want to blow themselves up. We are so many different varieties other than taxi drivers and suicide bombers,” Youssef elaborated.

Youssef slammed Republic frontrunner Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim statements, saying that he’s the ‘‘best gift ISIS ever had, because he plays right into their insanity’’.

“Do you know what ISIS and the likes of ISIS like to tell people: “The West hates you!” And every time this kind of hate speech [like Trump’s] comes out, it plays right into the hands of ISIS,” Youssef said.

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