Political Satirist Bassem Youssef delights Toronto Audience
The second last night of the Festival of Arabic Music and Arts was one filled
with laughter and cheering as Bassem Youssef took the stage.
introduced as the funniest cardiothoracic surgeon out there, is also known as
the “Jon Stuart” of the Arab World, as his political satire on his show, Al Barnameg, got him 30 million viewers
audience laugh until they were in tears on Saturday night at the Bluma Appel
theatre in downtown Toronto. Choosing to speak in English, he took his audience
on his journey during the Egyptian Revolution, while highlighting some of his
most famous clips from Al Barnameg.
discussed the controversy surrounding his show’s end. While he won acclaim
worldwide for using satire “to speak truth to power,” Al Barnameg was cancelled in June 2014, due to pressure on him and
the channel airing the show. Youssef used his time on stage to share what
really happened leading up the show’s cancellation, but not without making
people cheer and laugh.
nodded and applauded while Youssef used irony to discuss some of the most recycled
stereotypes against Arabs in news media, television, and film.
lined up to greet and take photos with Youssef after the show. In support, some
fans offered words of encouragement and support, wishing Youssef luck on his
new journey in California, where he now resides.
this was the first event in FAMA without music, one thing remains true: art,
whether music or political satire, joins people together and offers another
perspective on important world issues.