Friday November 10, 2017

'We tell everybody that the emperor's naked': Bassem Youssef on the role of satirists

(Melody Lau/CBC)

Listen 16:05

It's one thing for comedians to make jokes about politicians, or take a satirical swipe at a Prime Minister, but when your target is a repressive regime or a military government, the stakes are a little higher. Suddenly, comedy can have very serious, real consquences. That's the situation Bassem Youssef found himself in.

Youssef is known as the "Jon Stewart of Egypt" and following Egypt's 2011 revolution, Youssef set up a satirical TV show called The Show and for years, he continually challenged the country's authorities through comedy. Needless to say, said authorities were not fans.

This weekend, Youssef is in Canada talking about satire and the Middle East, performing at the inaugural Festival of Arabic Music and Arts in Toronto. Youssef joins Tom Power in the studio to talk about his controversial comedy. For more information about his performance in Toronto, head over to the Canadian Arabic Orchestra site.

— Produced by Ben Edwards