Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular political satire TV show AlBernameg, which was the first of it’s kind in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show on YouTube, AlBernameg became the first online to TV conversion in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week.
AlBernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart twice in June 2012 and April 2013. In June 2013, Youssef hosted Jon Stewart on AlBernameg in Cairo marking the second season’s peak. Al Bernameg was chosen by South by Southwest, one of the largest international interactive festivals, as the first and most successful internet to TV conversion story in the Middle East. Al Bernameg’s YouTube channel was the first channel in the MENA region to reach one million subscribers and was awarded the gold button trophy.
Throughout its three seasons AlBernameg remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers, which led to tens of lawsuits being filed against the show and its host. Youssef was even issued an arrest warrant in March 2013 and turned himself in the next day where he was questioned for five hours and released on bail. In recognition of his success, Youssef was named among the Time Magazine most influential list for 2013 – under the “Pioneers” category, was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the CPJ, and was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the global thinkers during the same year.
During its third season, the show achieved unprecedented weekly viewership ratings for 11 consecutive weeks. In June 2014, and after a six-week break, AlBernameg team held a press conference where Youssef announced the termination of the show due to overwhelming pressures on both the show and the airing channel.
In the spring of 2015 Youssef served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government for one semester. During his stay in the US he appeared twice as a Senior Middle East Correspondent on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, commenting on the recent political situation in the region. In 2015 he hosted the International Emmy Awards gala of 2015, as well as the 49th Carthage Film Festival in Tunis. Youssef is also currently hosting a digital series titled “The Democracy Handbook” for Fusion Network, namely on its new digital platform F-Comedy. He is also the star of an internationally renowned documentary by Sara Taksler titled “Tickling Giants” featuring Youssef’s story with AlBernameg. Youssef has recently released a book about his experience “Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring” where he gives different perspectives and insights on the Egyptian political scene through the Arab spring and after.
It was announced in October 2017 that Bassem Youssef would be doing the voice over for for disney’s Duck Tales as “Sabaf” the evil guard of an all mummified pharaoh. In that same month, ABC network announced that Bassem Youssef would be teaming up with Larry Wilmore, for a super hero Middle Eastern American family comedy. The show centers on the Sharif family, an ordinary Middle Eastern American family with two superhero parents at a time when it’s illegal to be a superhero, so they are forced to save the world in secret.
Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). Having practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Egypt for a period of 13 years, before moving into comedy and political satirism.