The Kennedy Center


Bassem Youssef

Friday, February 1, 2019


Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, makes his Kennedy Center debut.
Note: See details below about VIP Meet & Greet tickets!

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VIP Tickets : A limited number of VIP Meet & Greet tickets are available for purchase for the 9 p.m. performance only. VIP ticket buyers will be notified via email with full details the week of the performance.

Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of the popular TV show AlBernameg—which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show shot from Youssef’s laundry room and posted on YouTube days after protests in Tahir Square unseated Egypt’s ruling elite, AlBernameg became 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, including Youssef’s appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart twice in June 2012 and April 2013. Throughout its three season run, AlBernameg remained controversial due to its hilarious and bold criticism of the ruling powers. Accused of portraying “anti-Islam” sentiments and insulting the President, Youssef was arrested and interrogated before being released on bail. During its final season, the show achieved unprecedented ratings before Youssef announced its termination due to overwhelming political pressures on the show and the airing channel.

In 2013 Youssef was named among Time Magazine’s most influential people, was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the CPJ and was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the “Leading Global Thinkers”. In the spring of 2015 Youssef served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. 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 2016, Youssef hosted a digital series titled The Democracy Handbook for Fusion Network, namely on its new digital platform F-Comedy. He is also the star of a world-renowned documentary called Tickling Giants, directed by Sara Taksler. It is about Youssef’s story with AlBernameg. In 2017, Youssef released a book about his experience called 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. In 2018, Youssef hosts a podcast on CAFE called, Remade in America, where he interviews his guests as they explore what it means to be an outsider in America.

Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). Youssef practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Egypt for 13 years before moving into comedy and political satirism.