The suspense is killing us! Will Bassem Youssef replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show?
Bassem appeared on The Daily Show on more than one occasion. (Image:
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The former TV host of the popular political satire show "El Bernameg" Bassem Youssef has squashed his fans' hopes that he will replace Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, on which Youssef's show was based.
In an online forum last Sunday in Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) in New York city, Youssef made it crystal clear saying that hosting the Daily Show is a far-fetched fantasy, because he does not think Americans are ready to hear their political satire-news from a Middle-Easterner with a "thick accent".
"However, I will dwell on that dream until they finally choose a replacement, and when that happens, I will pretend my dreams are crushed. Still, I have a very little hope that maybe Comedy Central will go somewhat exotic like me," he said.
He noted that he trusts Stewart to be the best judge to choose a successor, as he said the Daily Show perhaps has the best team ever and he would support whomever will fill Stewart's shoes, which would be very difficult to fill.
Youssef is currently in the United States on a fellowship at Harvard University. He is also the subject of a new documentary entitled "Tickling Giants" directed by a senior producer at The Daily Show Sara Taksler, on free-speech in the Middle-East.
Despite Youssef's unveiled concerns that no one would show up to the forum on Reddit, he was pleasantly surprised by dozens users asking him many professional and personal questions very freely.
Reddit is a social networking service that started the AMA service in May 2000, which is open for users to ask public figures questions. AMA has seen many prominent figures, including the US president Barack Obama, Madona and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
When Youssef was asked about what inspired him to become a satirist he said it was "the hypocrisy and the lies that people saw in the media in the 18 days [of the 25 January revolution], and how different it was, and how far from the truth it was for people who actually went to the square. I felt that it was someone's duty to document this on video."
Youssef said that his next project is working with Arab talents across the Arab world in order to fulfill their own dream through digital media.
Talking about the new documentry Youssef said "I got involved in the documentary by being harassed by Taksler, to be the subject of this documentary. I couldn't tell her 'no' because at the time, she was working at the Daily Show, and I didn't want to say no to anybody working with Jon Stewart."
Youssef said that he was amazed then at the kind of work Takslet has put, documenting his experience to put it in the archives of history.
Meanwhile, Youssef unveiled that they will try to have a rough cut of the documentary available by end of the summer and will start submitting to film festivals, if they receive funding on time.
A YouTube comeback?
Though the ‘Middle-Eastern John Stewart’ was first known by his five-minute show "B+" which was broadcasting on YouTube, he vehemently refused to make a censorship-less comeback to the internet, saying that doing so would be a step "backwards".
Moreover, he added it would be disappointing for so many people expecting a certain level of performance, and the show being stopped is a much louder message than anything I could ever say on YouTube or elsewhere.
"Doing a show is not a single-handed effort, it is doing it with a whole team, and it is difficult to get this team to change their mindsets from performing onstage, and getting it back on YouTube," Youssef said.
Did he regret criticizing MB?
One user asked him if he regretted ridiculing former president Mohammed Morsy, which played a role according to critics in the demise of his regime. Youssef said he had no regrets because he was doing his job during the Muslim Brotherhood regime, as well as the era that followed, and to suggest that a political satire show played a role in the demise of a certain government shows how weak the government is, not how strong the show is.
Youssef also answered questions about the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State, addressing them as a bunch of "lunatics and they should be treated as such". When asked about his feedback on the Egyptian military's attack on IS, Youssef said dealing with them is a very complicated matter and he hopes it ends well.
"People who are calling for the bombing of shopping malls are equally nuts, or has no money to shop, and they want to make everybody's life much worse," Youssef said commenting on IS calls to attack the Mall of America which is owned by the Ghermezian family, an Iranian-Canadian family of Jewish origins.
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