Newmark Theatre

Bassem Youssef

Portland'5 welcomes Bassem Youssef to the Newmark Theatre Monday, April 3, 2017 at 7:30pm for his presentation The Joke is Mightier Than the Sword. Following the presentation, Youssef will have a question and answer session with the audience.

Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon when he became the creator and host of popular TV show Al- Bernameg — the first political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show shot from Youssef’s laundry room and posted on YouTube days after protests in Tahrir Square unseated Egypt’s ruling elite, Al-Bernameg became the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week.

Throughout its three seasons Al-Bernameg remained controversial for its hilarious and bold criticism of the ruling powers. Accused of being “anti-Islam” and insulting the President, Youssef was arrested and interrogated before being released on bail. During its final season, the show achieved unprecedented ratings before Youssef announced its termination due to overwhelming political pressures on the show and the airing channel.

In 2013, Youssef was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In 2015 Youssef served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has been a reoccurring guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and recently hosted the 2015 International Emmy Awards. He is currently a fellow at Stanford University and now resides with his family in the United States.

Youssef’s most recent projects include Democracy Handbook; a ten-part series exploring topics of democracy on fusion.net, and the launch of a new book, Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring in the spring of 2017.

Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).

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