Friday, January 25, 2013

Why Do I Hate Comedian Bassem Youssef So Much

I was one of the few people who first spoke about the new comedic guy who Egypt who satirizes the news. Read This post dated March 2011, when no one knew who this guy was. I dubbed him the Jon Steward of Arabia then and loved his show with passion. But now I am starting to see some push back against this show of his. A number of Facebook groups have emerged chronicling his insults and attacks (here).

Slowly, the former surgeon has been gaining fans and rocking the boat with his jokes and zingers. I loved him and thought he was the missing breeze the comedic world in Arabia has been missing. Naturally, his success has made a lot of people happy as he was their cash cow. A Little known TV network took a chance with him, and ended up making a killing in advertising revenues.

As his popularity skyrocketed and his fan base grew, Bassem Youssef started to creep into politics and developing idea of his own. He was prompted by his popularity, and he started biting more than he could chew. In a second he has turned himself into a leader of those lazy people who are too tired to do their own research on crucial issues. It's really the easiest thing in the world to shoot someone down, he is like that cynical colleague who shoots down every idea before it picks steam.

Another issue with him is his repeated attacks on news anchors and talking heads. The world according to Bassem Youssef is pretty simple. There are two kinds of people he makes fun of. the ones he calls Mubarak folks, and lunatic Muslims. He has bullied so many of them and has even stepped on their own freedom of speech. Some of those names have sued him for defamation.

I do not think Egypt needs that cynicism, they need someone to tell them calm down, go to work and everything will be OK. "You Got Screwed",  "Your President Hates Your Country" are examples of the last thing people who live in a transitional phase. Egyptians are emotional people and when you come such statements on TV, some of your audience are not on the joke. So causing chaos, confusion and distrust are few of the things Bassem Youseef and his show promote.

Bassem Youseef talks on his show like he hates current day Egypt, but remember there would be no chance for this once promising surgeon to be able to say what he has been saying now. The Mubarak folks would have sent him away in some dark corner. He seems to forget that, at least he is broadcasting from downtown Egypt with a lot of freedom--and a large bank account.

He disguises his jokes are creative thinking and pass them as noble ideas. It seems that he would ally himself with any force to embarrassed the president of Egypt. Like the day he appeared on CNN talking about a video of the president speaking about Israelis. It did get him on CNN, and he did put his president to shame, I hope it feels good knowing he is damaging the Egyptian brand on the world's stage with his lame attempts at being a serious journalist.

I have no love in my heart for Islamic parties, but I know this, if they won an election, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt. They need to be given a chance. Like Bassem Youseef, those people are educated and love Egypt. He is no better than them, and he certainly should not be putting words on their mouth. He needs to understand that he has now more responsibility, enough with getting the rest of the world to laugh at the Egyptians  Laughing with them is something that we all agree on.    

He is a gifted comedian, like the 90 million Egyptians who are well known for their humor and funny take on things. He just used more graphics and props, and I give him that he does know how to take advantage of his face expressions. I think he needs to take a serious look at his next step, does he want to tell jokes or does he want to be a political analyst? You really cannot do both! You can either take the president to take, or you can tell jokes about him.

Other issues with this comedian is his lax use of sexual terms and suggestive languages to force the laughs. Dirty jokes are known to be easy to come up with, but he should not be telling them during prime time when many families are watching with their little ones. He belongs to a group of exclusive elite media who fault the conservatives for existing. I see a difference between freedom of speech and incitement parties like the one on every night with Bassem Youssef. There's a lot to make fun of, complicating the already heated political scene in Egypt hardly helps.

Some independent observers and media personalities have taken issues with the show. So the media has never been kind to Islamists, and some of them Islamists are pretty dumb no question. But they are not all the same, and they are not all on the same level. I think his sketches and shows should come with a warning like Tobacco, and alcoholics drinks. My question to him, is it worth to make a million dollar if the price was sending your country in further chaos?

باسم يوسف الوسادة الرئاسية فى برنامج البرنامج.



  1. Dear writer,

    I must concur with you on the fact that he does abuse the dirty jokes too much nowadays. If you watch his earlier episodes, even those in season 2, you wodls realize that he is running out of "good jokes" when all there is in Egypt is riot. However, his excuse is that he made the show +18 and I suppose that crashes all our criticisms. He warned the audience so he is not to be blamed.

    Also, I agree that he has been picking on Islamists for way too long now and I advocate a variety of material to keep people interested and maybe attract some Islamist fans as well. Afterall, his purpose was to unveil the fallacies of Egyptian media but it seems to me that he is unveiling Islamists more. I Know they are the ones who put themselves in power and such reactions should have been expected but again, the show is devoid of variety.

    However, I must tell you that I disagree with your points regarding the good Islamists. Everyone knows they exist but I believe that Dr Bassem's show was not made to applaud and praise the good Muslims or Patriots; it was made to unveil the hypocrisies and the deception of their looks. That people follow them because these media icons are Muslims. His intentions were to change that and expose most of their wrongdoings to not only Egypt but also Islam. Also, he opens up people's eyes to the deception of the Muslim Brotherhood and advocates the saying, "one who is in power is not always right."

    Also, I disagree on your scrutiny of his alleged CNN Interview that he discusses what our so-called-freedom-advocate President said about Israelies. I hope you do not wish to insinuate to America or other countries that our president is perfect just for the sake of keeping up our broken image. Sending them a false profile of our president is a shame and disgrace to every Egyptian. Nevertheless, he daunty Dr Bassem stood up and frankly discussed the matter.

    I hope you accept my opinion with a good heart and not take it personally. I hope I did not offend anyone. Thank you for reading. Keep up the good reviews, writer, and keep up the good laughs, Dr Bassem.

    Haya Sabry.

  2. Good article, and an apt summary of the problem with polarizing media in today's Egypt.