Jon Stewart visits Bassem Youssef in Cairo, takes over 'Al-Bernameg'
Bassem Youssef has been called "the Jon Stewart of the Arab world" on many occasions. Well, on Friday's episode of 'Al-Bernameg' (translated to 'The Program'), the show was hosted by the Jon Stewart of the Western world, instead.
Jon Stewart, who is currently on hiatus from 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' as he makes his feature film directorial debut with a project entitled 'Rosewater,' visited Cairo last week to appear as a guest on Youssef's program. Youssef had twice previously appeared as a guest on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and I suppose it was time to return the favor. Youssef had two men bring out a mystery guest clad in a balaclava; when it was revealed to be a bearded Jon Stewart, fans in the 'Al-Bernameg' audience were ecstatic.
'Al-Bernameg' resembles 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' not only in appearance but also in tone. Back in April, Youssef was arrested due to a joke that he made about Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and allegedly insulting the Islamic faith. Youssef, a practicing muslim, eventually had the charges dropped. Stewart offered his public support of Youssef on Friday, stating that "if your regieme can't handle a joke then you do not have a regieme."
A former heart surgeon before turning to comedy, Youssef rose to popularity thanks to his funny online political sketches posted during the 'Arab Spring' uprising. Eventually Youssef's popularity lead him to his own show on sattelite television. The joke that brought the enmity of the State down upon Youssef featured a pillow with a photo of President Morsi on it, which was referred to as Super Morsi. It seems harmless to us in the West, however as Youssef himself explained while appearing on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,' Egypt and the Arab world are not yet as accustomed to freedom of expression.
When he was revealed, Stewart spoke in Arabic to the excited audience, saying there was no need to fuss. Stewart had a conversation with Youssef before being given the hosting chair; Stewart took over the show for the remainder of the broadcast. You can watch the episode with Stewart's appearance below!