Mob tries to stop Bassem Youssef's 'El-Bernameg' crew from filming episode

Ahram Online, Wednesday 12 Feb 2014

Popular satirist stirs up more anger by taking dead aim at loyalists of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi

Bassem Youssef
Egyptian satirist and comedian Bassem Youssef (Photo: Al-Ahram )

A group of people opposing Egypt's popular satirist Bassem Youssef gathered Wednesday outside the theatre where he records his weekly show, El-Bernameg, and tried to block the crew from entering.

With his usual biting wit, Youssef took to Twitter afterwards and mocked both the demonstrators and a recently-passed protest law which forbids all protests not pre-approved by authorities.

"Concerning those who are blocking the road to the theatre now, what about the protest law? Does it apply to some people and not to others?" Youssef wrote.

The crew managed to get inside the theatre to film the episode, a source told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

The show is recorded on Wednesday at the historic Radio theatre in downtown Cairo and then airs on Friday evening across the Arab world.

In the last episode, aired 7 February, Youssef poked fun at the fanatic supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who has grown increasingly popular following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

He also showed footage of earlier protests against him at the same theatre following the previous episode on 25 October 2013. That episode, in which he skewered both Morsi and El-Sisi lists, caused for the show's broadcaster CBC to cancel the programme on grounds of "breaching the [station's] editorial policy."

However, Youssef was back on the air last week after signing a new contract with private TV network MBC Misr.

Prosecutors are investigating complaints by El-Sisi supporters who said Youssef insulted the popular defence minister and the Egyptian armed forces.

The cardiac surgeon turned satirist has been a controversial figure since he first began posting homemade political videos on Youtube in March 2011. Widely referred to as Egypt's John Stewart, after the American TV host whose Daily Show Youssef modelled his own upon, Youssef has turned the woes of successive regimes into laughter during turbulent political times.

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