Former comedy show host and political satirist Bassem Youssef had an unexpected reaction to social media sarcasm of parliamentary members' performances during the inaugural session of Egypt’s House of Representatives held on Sunday, suggesting that the session should evoke sadness rather than satire.
The first session of parliament on Sunday witnessed several moments that were picked up by social media cynics, most notably breaches by MPs to the script of the constitutional oath as well as side conversations between members inadvertently heard through microphones.
“The People’s Assembly (the House of Representatives) is neither funny nor a nice performance, it is rather a farce that makes one cry, not laugh,” Youssef tweeted, going at odds with his fans who said they wished his show had not been cancelled so that he could have left his mark on the event.
Youssef's show “El-Bernameg” was suspended in 2014, a few weeks before presidential elections. The move was viewed as an action of self-censorship by the channel airing the show, which delivered weekly bits of political sarcasm on the patriotic fervor that accompanied incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s ascension to power.
Youssef, dubbed the Arab world's Jon Stewart, also fell prey to litigations by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood over the show's critical content.
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