Bassem Youssef Quotes
Bassem Youssef Quotes



Biography

Author Profession: Entertainer
Nationality: Egyptian
Born: March 22, 1974





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People went out there and they wrote articles and went on television shows saying that I am an operative that the CIA who used Jon Stewart to recruit me. So Jon Stewart, who actually – a guy from America was used by the CIA in order to recruit me for the CIA and be – make me a CIA agent to use sarcasm to bring down the government and bring down the country because this was all, of course, part of a worldwide conspiracy against the country.

Bassem Youssef



Country, Sarcasm, Government
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I think that the religious and the military right wings are just two sides of the same coin if somebody uses God and religion and somebody uses country and security.

Bassem Youssef



Country, Religious, Military
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I’m sure even in America, where you have, like, free speech people self-censor themself. And it’s not – it happens because of different reasons. Because maybe it’s politically incorrect, it doesn’t have to really to be put in jail.

Bassem Youssef
Self, America, Jail
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We have Internet now and people are not stupid. But it seems that some people are trying to push the same agenda of the Cold War of conspiracy theories and amazing achievements that are very easily traced and validated.

Bassem Youssef



Stupid, War, People
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The way that things happen in Egypt, the government – or the head of the government – don’t get personally involved. They were always goonies and agents and people who do that kind of work for the government either by direct instructions or because they think that they’re doing something good or they want to be on the good side of the government.

Bassem Youssef



Thinking, Government, Egypt
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I was accused of insulting the president, insulting Islam, insulting – spreading rumors, disturbing the peace.

Bassem Youssef




Insulting, Islam, Rumor

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There’s no glory and no respect in making fun of the weak, the powerless.


Bassem Youssef





Respect, Fun, Glory, Weak,
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The bigger you become of a celebrity, the bigger the expectations, the pressure on you – to make change, to say what people want, to target the people they want to target. Fame is toxic; it is quite toxic.


Bassem Youssef





Change, You, People, Pressure,
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My show in Egypt was called, ‘The Show,’ or, ‘Al Bernameg’ in Arabic. Basically, it was a political satire show. It started on Internet by three, four-minute episodes, and then it evolved into a live show in a theater, which was something that was unprecedented in the Arab world.


Bassem Youssef





World, Internet, Live, Political,
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A revolution is not an event. It’s a process. And it takes its time.


Bassem Youssef





Time, Revolution, Process, Event,
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I can go back to Egypt anytime I want. Can I leave Egypt anytime I want? I think I can. I think I can.


Bassem Youssef





Think, Back, Want,
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Countries aren’t built by boring people.


Bassem Youssef





Boring, Boring, Countries,
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When we overthrew Mubarak, we did this in 18 days. And because we were very naive and very unexperienced in revolutions, we thought that that was it. It is very difficult to imagine that you can actually get rid of a dictatorship that has been there for 60 years only in 18 days. So we were very naive.


Bassem Youssef





Thought, Dictatorship, Difficult,
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Egyptian comedy has a very, very old tradition. Our theater and our movies are just, like, amazing. And Egypt is kind of like the Hollywood of the Middle East. I mean, we had cinema maybe decades before the other Arab countries ever got independence.


Bassem Youssef





Tradition, Cinema, Comedy, Amazing,
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I didn’t invent satire. I didn’t come up with it. And it will continue to be a very powerful tool to disrupt political taboos and social taboos and religious taboos, because those taboos are always used to control and to curb people’s way of creativity and thinking, by making them feel guilty because they want to make a change.


Bassem Youssef





Change, Thinking, Creativity,
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A lot of people tend to glorify the role of satire and comedians. They put them up as role models, as fighters for the truth and against tyranny, and I think that’s overrated.


Bassem Youssef





Truth, Think, Tyranny,
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The importance of satire is bringing more people to the table. There are a lot of average citizens who aren’t interested in politics and would be more interested if it’s brought to them in a comedic, funny, satirical way.


Bassem Youssef





Funny, Politics, Way,
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This is the conundrum of the present regimes in the Arab world. They still want to control youth; they want to be in control as they did in the 1950s and ’60s. But that doesn’t work anymore. Now with just a Wi-Fi link, you can understand what’s happening in the world.


Bassem Youssef





Work, World, Youth,
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What I hope to do in the States is to break up this stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs. I mean, we are basically the only sub-culture that is not represented in Hollywood. And it’s funny because everybody is talking about the Muslim world and the Arab world, and we are not represented.


Bassem Youssef





Funny, Hope, World, Talking,
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Part of the reason why people get radicalized is because they feel they are disenfranchised; that they not there; that they are bullied. But if they are represented, they can’t go and say to themselves: ‘Oh, this society hates us!’


Bassem Youssef





Society, Feel, Go,
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The joke is mightier than the sword.


Bassem Youssef





Sword, Joke, Than, Mightier,
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We are two brothers: I am a doctor; my brother is an engineer.


Bassem Youssef





Brother, Doctor, Two,
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Theocratic and military authorities share one thing: they have no sense of humour.


Bassem Youssef





Sense, Humour, Military,
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I chose the Egyptian dream: the dream to make a TV show, and then be called an infidel by the end.


Bassem Youssef





End, Dream, Make, Show,
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We have dealt with the Arab/Muslim problem in the American media in every single way but through comedy. Hollywood has always been lagging behind comedy… We can make fun of ourselves, too, and I’m inviting us to laugh with us – and all the misconceptions.


Bassem Youssef





Laugh, Comedy, Way, Fun,
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I never thought of myself as a comedian. That is a label – make me laugh. I want to make you think.


Bassem Youssef





Myself, You, Laugh,
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I pity Americans for their very bad fruits. Your ‘mango’ is cucumber. The only thing I really miss about Egypt is mangoes.


Bassem Youssef





Bad, Your, Egypt, Miss,
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It’s kinda me and Jon Stewart have a pact together – so he’s making me famous in the Western world and I’m making him famous in Egypt!


Bassem Youssef





Together, World, Egypt,
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I do think that this planet is a totally unjust planet. I mean throughout history – history paints a beautiful picture when it’s written by the victorious, but it’s a planet that belongs to the strong and the more able, and usually they are tyrants. So basically, I don’t see justice happening to the crushed and the weak.


Bassem Youssef





Beautiful, History, Justice, Picture,
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I get very confused about being called a comedian, because when you say ‘I’m a comedian,’ people expect you to crack a joke. Maybe I use laughter and humour to make people think. I don’t know what you call that – a humourist? A satirist? A pessimistic comedian? I don’t know. Satirists can be very dark.


Bassem Youssef





People, Laughter, Dark,
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The Dark Satirist, like the Dark Knight – that could be a good name for a superhero.


Bassem Youssef





Good, Dark, Name, Like,
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I’m not a revolutionary, and I’m not a warrior.


Bassem Youssef





Warrior, Revolutionary, Cool, 
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Islam’s not just about covering your hair. It’s about how you treat other people.


Bassem Youssef





Hair, Islam, Inspirational, 
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Sarcasm all around the world is always against right wing and against people in power. That’s the definition of political sarcasm.


Bassem Youssef





Power, World, Political,
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People say, ‘Are you afraid? Are you scared for your life?’ and I tell them: If I choose today to tone it down, if I choose today to shut up, tomorrow me, you, and all of us will be forced to.

Bassem Youssef



People, Today, Tone
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I always tell people that a revolution is not an event, it’s a process. It is a struggle. And it doesn’t usually go smoothly.

Bassem Youssef



Struggle, People, Events
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Satire has its limits. It is really up to the people to make the change. The satirist’s role ends at the screen.

Bassem Youssef



People, Roles, Limits
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People would believe propagate, spread rumors or conspiracy theories in order to protect their own system of denial.

Bassem Youssef



Believe, Order, People
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I don’t care about Donald Trump himself. I care and I worry about the very big base that supports him because this kind of language would have been absolutely nonexistent maybe 15, 20 – by the way, I follow the American elections, and I have never seen someone who is that offensive. I have seen people who are stupid. But stupid and offensive, that’s new.

Bassem Youssef



Stupid, People, Worry
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What I saw day-to-day is like people who are actually asking for freedom, calling for freedom – protesting, singing, chanting, calling for the removal of the regime – plain and simple. And of course there were clashes there because people, they tried to remove those protesters from Tahrir. And I was, like, doing my job as a doctor treating them.

Bassem Youssef



Jobs, Simple, Doctors
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It is very depressing to see that in the 21st century people are still using the same 1950s and ’60s style of propaganda.

Bassem Youssef



Depressing, People, Style
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Donald Trump is not stupid. He knows exactly what he’s saying. And he’s just saying out there – I mean, forget about Muslims. He said I could go down on Fifth Avenue in New York and shoot someone in the face and people – and the voters will have no problem with it. This transcends any kind of religion and any kind of belief. This is actually an offense and attack on human values. He’s just saying out there I will shoot people in the face and people wouldn’t care.

Bassem Youssef



New York, Stupid, Mean
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Everybody grows up with comedy. I mean, Egyptian comedy has a very, very old tradition. Our theater and our movies are just, like, amazing.

Bassem Youssef



Growing Up, Mean, Comedy
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It doesn’t matter if the truth is right there out in front of your eyes. You will find a way, a mechanism, in order to keep your own system of denial. So as I always say it, denial is a river that runs in the – in Egypt. So we became very good in that.

Bassem Youssef



Running, Eye, Egypt
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The only the way that you can live and function without seeing the facts in front of you is to put yourself in a constant state of denial.

Bassem Youssef



Denial, Way, Facts
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There are people who believe in Egypt that I – I’m actually – I’m getting paid by external powers and external intelligence entities in order to use satire to bring down the government.

Bassem Youssef



Believe, Government, Egypt
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The worst thing ever that you have to explain your joke because I was very disappointed trying to explain why the joke is funny for the interrogator.

Bassem Youssef



Trying, Worst, Disappointed
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I think by the time I left Egypt, there was about like 400 accusations against me in the drawer of the public persecutor office. It’s a way for them to exhaust you, to push you, to put you under pressure, to distract you.

Bassem Youssef



Thinking, Egypt, Office
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