Bassem Youssef Sees Comparisons Between Trump and the Middle East: ‘I Feel Right at Home’


The phrase that is most frequently used here in the United States to describe comedian Bassem Youssef is the “Egyptian Jon Stewart.” After all, it was the American Daily Show that inspired the Egyptian comedian to launch his own satirical program called Al-Bernameg in 2011. He even once featured Stewart on his own show in Egypt as Youssef’s popularity rose.

Unfortunately, the rules surrounding freedom of speech are not as kind for influential comedians as they are here. An Egyptian prosecutor charged Youssef with, “circulating false news likely to disturb public peace,” and Youssef was forced to end his show — and flee Egypt altogether — two years ago. He appeared on The Nightly Show‘s panel Thursday night and discussed the ways in which the rhetoric of the Republican frontrunner reminds him of many of the closed-minded policies of his homeland.

“Being a racist and a bigot and xenophobic — I feel right at home,” Youssef joked to host Larry Wilmore on Thursday. “We call that Monday. This is the Middle East every single day.”

Youssef expressed some of the key differences however: “Trump is just one person. But when you have the whole country behind that person, it’s a totally different thing,” he said. “And it wasn’t just [former President of Egypt Mohamed] Morsi, it was whoever came after. It’s the same thing basically. So where we comedians have a hard time doing that, it did make a difference.”

Youssef’s legacy in Egypt inspired many other comedians to use their voices in protest against government corruption, a fact that he addressed on Nightly. “I’m very proud of what we did there, because it actually inspired a lot of people to do their own little show on the internet.”

“It was very brave,” Wilmore said. “I give you a lot of credit for that.”

Watch the above video from Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show.

[image via screengrab]

J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) is a columnist at Mediaite.

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