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Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring

by Bassem Youssef

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1225194,221 (3.71)13
"Hilarious and Heartbreaking. Comedy shouldn't take courage, but it made an exception for Bassem." --Jon Stewart "The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"--the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt's history--chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East, all of which inspired the documentary about his life, Tickling Giants. Bassem Youssef's incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg (The Program), chronicled the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of Mubarak's successor, Mohamed Morsi. Youssef not only captured his nation's dissent but stamped it with his own brand of humorous political criticism, in which the Egyptian government became the prime laughing stock. So potent were Youssef's skits, jokes, and commentary, the authoritarian government accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam. After a six-hour long police interrogation, Youssef was released. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland. In Revolution for Dummies, Youssef recounts his life and offers hysterical riffs on the hypocrisy, instability, and corruption that has long animated Egyptian politics. From the attempted cover-up of the violent clashes in Tahrir Square to the government's announcement that it had created the world's first "AIDS cure" machine, to the conviction of officials that Youssef was a CIA operative--recruited by Jon Stewart--to bring down the country through sarcasm. There's much more--and it's all insanely true. Interweaving the dramatic and inspiring stories of the development of his popular television show and his rise as the most contentious funny-man in Egypt, Youssef's humorous, fast-paced takes on dictatorship, revolution, and the unforeseeable destiny of democracy in the Modern Middle East offers much needed hope and more than a few healing laughs. A documentary about his life, Tickling Giants, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, and is now scheduled for major release.… (more)
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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
I picked it up without knowing what it was and it turned out to be engaging enough to finish, which is not something I would've predicted had I read the summary. Not very funny, unless you consider putting profanity in every sentence funny on its own. Talks about John Stewart a lot, which was lost on me because I didn't know who that was (I've googled him since). I assume this is to connect with the Americans which I guess this book is aimed at(?). He seems like a good guy. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
This is the personal account of Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian heart surgeon turned media show host (aka Egyptian Jon Stewart) as he lived through and reported on/satirized the Egyptian Revolutions of the 21st Century.... Until such a time he was forced to flee Egypt for the u.s. for his & his family's safety.

Not pretty, not funny, but enlightening and sad. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jul 9, 2020 |
Bassem Youssef was a doctor before the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt in 2011. After that, he started doing short satirical/political videos on youtube, and from there, he started a tv show, and he became known as the Egyptian Jon Stewart. This book chronicles Youssef’s experience at this time in Egypt, and his escape from his home country in 2014.

This was very good. I learned at lot, and of course, it has a nice dose of humour to go along with it. There are some parallels with our Western/North American society, as well, some of which he mentions specifically, and some that just popped into my head. He did eventually come to the US, so he can see what’s happening there now (or at the time of writing). This was published in 2017, so still fairly recent. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jun 10, 2020 |
This book really helped me understand what was going on in Egypt at the time. I do have vague memories of the major names in the news, but never really understood what was truly happening. After reading this book, I feel like have enough understanding to follow along with current events in that part of the world. I also appreciate that whenever I found myself feeling incredulous about what the Egyptian people were able to believe/justify about their leaders, Youssef would give me an example from our own country and our own leaders to help me understand how this could happen anywhere, even here. ( )
2 vote Cora-R | Sep 7, 2019 |
As the dust jacket mentioned, it's a sharply funny quick take on Egypt's bit of Arab Spring that will inform you enough to sound informed if Egyptian politics ever come up at parties. Bittersweet too, in the tumultuous shift from one overbearing fascist to another, wrapped in the guise of religion and patriotism... and somehow, a satirical news show becoming the most popular thing for two seasons in the midst of it until forced off the air. ( )
  Daumari | Dec 30, 2017 |
Showing 5 of 5
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"Hilarious and Heartbreaking. Comedy shouldn't take courage, but it made an exception for Bassem." --Jon Stewart "The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"--the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt's history--chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East, all of which inspired the documentary about his life, Tickling Giants. Bassem Youssef's incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg (The Program), chronicled the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of Mubarak's successor, Mohamed Morsi. Youssef not only captured his nation's dissent but stamped it with his own brand of humorous political criticism, in which the Egyptian government became the prime laughing stock. So potent were Youssef's skits, jokes, and commentary, the authoritarian government accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam. After a six-hour long police interrogation, Youssef was released. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland. In Revolution for Dummies, Youssef recounts his life and offers hysterical riffs on the hypocrisy, instability, and corruption that has long animated Egyptian politics. From the attempted cover-up of the violent clashes in Tahrir Square to the government's announcement that it had created the world's first "AIDS cure" machine, to the conviction of officials that Youssef was a CIA operative--recruited by Jon Stewart--to bring down the country through sarcasm. There's much more--and it's all insanely true. Interweaving the dramatic and inspiring stories of the development of his popular television show and his rise as the most contentious funny-man in Egypt, Youssef's humorous, fast-paced takes on dictatorship, revolution, and the unforeseeable destiny of democracy in the Modern Middle East offers much needed hope and more than a few healing laughs. A documentary about his life, Tickling Giants, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, and is now scheduled for major release.

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