Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Political Satirist Bassem Youssef delights Toronto Audience

By: Rolla Bahsous

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.

Youssef, who was 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 every week.

Youssef made his 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.

Youssef also 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.

Audience members nodded and applauded while Youssef used irony to discuss some of the most recycled stereotypes against Arabs in news media, television, and film.

Fans happily 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.


While 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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...