Egyptian Satirist Bassem Youssef to Speak at Penn State

Egyptian Satirist Bassem Youssef to Speak at Penn State

Satirist Bassem Youssef, dubbed the “Jon Stewart of Egypt,” will visit University Park in November to speak at two separate events hosted by the Center for Global Studies (CGS). Youssef will deliver a lecture titled “The Joke is Mightier Than The Sword” at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 4, he, along with the film’s director Sara Taksler, a senior producer of "The Daily Show," will participate in a discussion following the film screening of "Tickling Giants." The discussion will be moderated by CGS Director Sophia McClennen, professor of comparative literature and international affairs and one of the nation’s leading experts on the connections between satire, democracy and the public sphere. That event will begin at 5 p.m. in the Lewis Katz Auditorium.

Seating for both events will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

A book signing of Youssef’s recent book, "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring," will take place immediately following both events. Saturday’s venue will also include a reception.

Youssef is a world-renowned satirist who was named to Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2013 due in large part to the popularity of his television show "Al-Bernameg (The Program)," which was the first of its kind, a political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show on YouTube, "Al-Bernameg" became the first online-to-TV conversion in the Middle East and the most-watched show across the region, with 30 million viewers every week.

Youssef was forced to leave into exile following governmental backlash to his satirical program. The film "Tickling Giants" follows the staff of "Al-Bernameg," to show the tension and pressures Youssef and his team faced.

Taskler, the film’s writer, producer and director, who has worked with both Jon Stewart and Youssef, says viewers of her film should leave inspired by the message and circumstances surrounding the film: “A team of ordinary people risked their own comfort and, by doing so, found a way to be heard and to influence change.”

Youssef’s visit is co-sponsored by the African-American Studies Department, Africana Research Center, African Studies Program, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Sociology, Egyptian Student Association, McCourtney Institute for Democracy, Migration Studies Project, Paterno Fellows Program, Rock Ethics Institute, School of International Affairs, and Schreyer Honors College.

For more information, contact Sarah Lyall-Combs at 814-867-4697 or email at

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Egyptian Satirist Bassem Youssef to Speak at Penn State