One of the most anticipated sessions at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is happening on Friday evening: A panel discussion with Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef.
Often called “Egypt’s Jon Stewart”, Youssef will be taking the stage during a session that will be held at the ballroom of Expo Centre Sharjah at 8pm. After the event, he will be signing copies of his book The Magical Reality of Nadia.
The heart-surgeon-turned-media personality recently went viral after conquering his interview with American presenter Piers Morgan with his satirical take on the ongoing war in Gaza. The video, which racked up over 21 million views on YouTube, is one of the most-watched episodes of the outspoken English journalist’s show Piers Morgan Uncensored.
Through satire and dark humour, Youssef drove home some important messages during the interview.
In the video, Youssef, whose wife is Palestinian and has her family living in Gaza, said, sardonically: “Those Palestinians, they’re very dramatic… But they never die… I mean, they always come back. They’re very difficult to kill, very difficult people to kill. I know, because I’m married to one. I tried many times. I try to get to her every time, but she uses our kids as human shields.”
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He also quipped that he had not been able to get in touch with his wife’s family but that they “are used to it” and that the whole pattern is “very repetitive.”
After the immense popularity of the interview, Morgan and Youssef had a second round of interview, this time face to face at a club in Los Angeles. The two-hour special interview posted on YouTube has over 10 million views and sees Youssef delivering a brief history of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Since the Sharjah Book Authority announced on its social media channels that Yousef would be coming to the SIBF, it quickly became one of the most keenly anticipated events.
The post garnered over 400 comments with many saying they can’t wait to watch his trademark humour in person. One user posted “Love him so much”, while another wrote in Arabic “I was hoping he would come.”
Best known for hosting the satirical comedy show El Bernameg from 2011 to 2014, Youssef was named on the Time’s list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.
The Magical Reality of Nadia book series is inspired by Youssef’s real-life experiences and tells the story of sixth grade Egyptian immigrant Nadia as she navigates the ups and downs of friendships and racism when she moves to America.