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Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Humor (2017)
“Hilarious and Heartbreaking. Comedy shouldn’t take courage, but it made an exception for Bassem.” --Jon Stewart

Semi-Finalist in the Humor category in the Goodreads Choice Awards.

"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.

320 pages, ebook

First published March 21, 2017

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About the author

Bassem Youssef

4 books257 followers
Bassem Raafat Muhammad Youssef is an Egyptian comedian, writer, producer, physician, media critic, and television host. He hosted Al-Bernameg, a satirical news program, from 2011 to 2014.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 365 reviews
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,520 followers
October 7, 2017
I never thought I'd recommend this book to any non-Egyptian who wish to know how Orwellian we get after a Dummy of a Revolution..
It may be not 'neutral', but it's just accurate..

من بعد الوقف الأورويلي لبرنامج البرنامج ، اللي كان ظاهرة لم تتكرر في تاريخ التليفزيون العربي..بيرجع لنا باسم يوسف بكتاب
الغريب أنه في مقدمته بيقول أنها قصة حياته مش كتاب تاريخ...أنت غلطان ياباسم

ده كتاب تاريخ وكمان تقليب مواجع..كتاب زاد من اكتئابي

من ثورة أشتعلت بشكل مفاجئ ، لعملاء وجواسيس وعلاقات جنسية كاملة ، لموت مفاجئ "شرعي" للثورة ، لجمعة قندهار والأسلام قادم ، وليالي أضواء البرلمان ، لشهداء ماسبيرو ، وأيه اللي وداها هناك؟ ، للفيلم المسئ ، وجبنة نستو يا معفنين ، والحالة العجيبة لأبو أسماعيل

والأهرامات المبنية بالدعارة ، ثم نصف ثورة أخري واستبدال حكم ديني بحكم عسكري، وكان عندك أيدز وراح
I Believe in Scince :)

لتسجيل المكالمات وعرضها في التليفزيون ، ، أبلة فاهيتا ورموزها ، لمتع السخرية علي الذات العسكرية

بيتخلل ده ، زي ماقالت المقدمة ، قصة نجاح باسم يوسف ، المؤلف
وتقريبا أهم قصة في مسيرته المهنية ... من دكتور قلب لمحاولة عمل فيديوهات ساخرة من النظام علي اليوتيوب -قبل الغزو الساخر الماسخ اللي حصل بعد منه- لعشقه لجون ستيوارت الرهيب ومحاولة صنع ما يشبه برنامجه بأقل الامكانيات
لأنتقاله لأول مرة للتليفزيون تحت إدارة قناة يملكها رجل أعمال مسيحي ، في وقت صعود تيار صاخب من "الأسلام السياسي" لحكم مصر
لتلقيبه بكلب ساويسرس "رجل الاعمال" ، ثم كلب امريكا
ثم أنتقاله لقناة أكبر ، وتحقيقه لحلم عمل برنامج شبيه فعلا بجون ستيوارت
ثم مقابلته لجون ستيوارت

قد اكون لست من كبار معجبي باسم يوسف، ولدي ملاحظات كثير عن اسلوبه الوقح احيانا -ليس الساخر وانما الوقح- ولا أنكر ان الكتاب أهدي إلي مع وعد أنني قد أقيمه بنجمة

لكنه فعلا جذبني من مقدمته
لكن عوضا عن تقديم درس تاريخ ساحق، سأحكي لكم قصتي-ماذا حدث لي أثناء وقوع الثورة، ودوري الغير متوقع بها. نعم، "قصتي" تجعلني أبدو مهما، لكنها حقا حيلة لأجعلك مهتما!، بحق الجحيم، ربما تفكر الآن أنني مغرورا أبن عاهرة لأني أعتقد أن الناس قد تشتري كتابا لقراءة "قصتي"، وأنت محق في هذا؛ -ابن مين انا في مصر عشان يتعملي كتاب؟

"السطر الاخير فقط من تعديلي، ايموشن باسم سمرة"
إلا أن المقدمة أضحكتني كثيرا اليوم وأعتقد انني وقعت في حب هذا الكتاب
كتاب الكتاب، مع باسم يوسف

لكن الحقيقة
، الكتاب فعلا بيرصد الثورة من وجهة نظر ظريفة وشاملة ....غير محايدة طبعا لكن ده ميمنعش أنها حقيقية
وحتي الكلام عن الشريعة وتاريخ الحكم في مصر من الستينات ورعاية أمريكا للمجاهدين فعلا مكتوب بشكل حلو جدا

وحتي نهايته ، برغم من وقاحة سطره الأخير التشاؤمي لكنه للاسف حقيقي

ساكمل مقتطفات من الكتاب.. مش عارف حقيقي المفروض ده لو اترجم يبقي بالعامية ولا باللغة العربية...ححاول امزج بين الاتنين :)
تفتكرو حينزل في مكتبات مصر ولا حيتقضي مضروب بس؟
ولا حد حيقدر يترجمه ولا حياخد نفس الحكم الاورويلي

محمد العربي
في 26 أبريل 2017
Profile Image for Richard.
29 reviews2 followers
March 16, 2017
I must confess that I won "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring" in a Goodreads Giveaway, and it is not a book that I ever would have purchased. Such wonderful serendipity that this terrific work came my way! Like most Americans, my knowledge of events in modern Egypt could be written on the head of a pin, with room left over for the Gettysburg Address. Bassem Youssef, quite possibly the world's most unlikely television star, shines an unwavering light on his homeland's recent events and his role in them.
And what events they are! He describes a veritable festival of murder, terror, betrayal, political incompetence, religious intolerance, willful ignorance, avarice, and many other hallmarks of general political and societal collapse. Although he writes as a satirist and not as an academic of any description, his unflinching eye and keen intellect bring the Egyptian Revolution and it's aftermath into sharp focus, and his injection of humor does little to mitigate the horror of it all.
A very surprising, and quite disturbing, facet of this narrative is the appalling parallels between the methods of operation employed by the corrupt and incompetent Egyptian government and the present American leadership as piloted by Donald Trump. Bold faced and patently absurd lies buttressed and defended by yet more comically infantile lies, both willful and unintentional ignorance of reality and pertinent facts, the creation and presentation of Bogey Men as the public's real enemies to draw attention away from their utter lack of competence as leaders, and many other blood curdling similarities are starkly apparent.
This is a far more interesting and important work than it's rather silly title would suggest. Initially, it's seems simply to chronicle the tragic political collapse of Egypt, but it ultimately serves as a warning to humanity of how easily a country can slip into chaos if incompetent leadership is allowed to proliferate unchecked.
Profile Image for James Kimmet.
7 reviews2 followers
March 26, 2017

Several years ago, I came back from Afghanistan with a narrow view of Muslims. I got home and the lone wolf killings began. I spouted some of the same vitriol that Trump people use today.

As the years passed and I started to remember in my blind rage that I had Muslim friends, I am an American, and how can I justify stereotyping? took affect. But I couldn't name my confusion.

I saw Bassem Youssef for the first time on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This was in my rage phase. I was confused. He was nothing like I expected or had experienced....it got me thinking even harder.

This book did it for me. And early. He gave focus and clarity to my confusion and named it. Muslim vs. Islamist. And I laughed the whole time. In spite of it being terribly depressing. I have read all the wonky books, and rarely read a book like this, but this is the best depiction, description, and clarifying read I have had on the subject. Probably because it was as if we were having a conversation instead of a lecture.

Would any of us be strong enough to be this guy? I hope so, but I also know we won't have to find out. We're lucky, and very lucky that Dr. Youssef got here with his family before we banned Muslims. We are better for it. At least we can change things for real every four years. We take that for granted.

Thank you, Dr. Youssef.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,815 reviews494 followers
July 6, 2017
Although there are moments that I found myself laughing, like all satirical comedy, it's the truths in between that really made me sit up and pay attention. Referred to as the Egyptian Jon Stewart, Bassem Youssef takes Western readers into the heart of the events around the Arab Spring. Not what our Western media tells us happened, but what actually transpired and what it all means for Egyptians. I am glad that I gave this book a chance. Definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books542 followers
December 3, 2018
"The textbook of fear is the same everywhere."

Bassem Youssef has a unique voice and a great way of telling a serious, important story without being horribly depressing. He is a comedian and uses his wit and intelligence to explain how his life in Egypt changed with the Arab Spring and ensuing troubles. As someone who has always had a particular interest in Egypt, this was a truly gripping, eye-opening read. I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to better understand the conflicts and history of this country.

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Profile Image for Amanda Mae.
337 reviews20 followers
February 18, 2017
I enjoyed this entertaining and surprisingly heart-felt look at the Arab Spring in Egypt from the top satirist from that country, rightly compared to Jon Stewart. We trace his career as a heart surgeon to a comedian hosting the most popular Egyptian television show. I have a pretty limited understanding of Arab politics, and the author gives a clear explanation that he says is probably too simplistic, but that's not what this book is aiming for! He's here to talk about comedy in a oppressive regime and the life and death of his TV show! And he delivers. Plenty of warnings for our country's current political situation, too. The chapters are frequently brief, so this makes for a great lunchtime read if your time is limited. Definitely recommended!
Profile Image for Nada Elshabrawy.
Author 2 books7,923 followers
September 3, 2018
I missed Basem’s sense of humor. However the book is designed for people who haven’t been around during this crazy time. So I didn’t find it useful for me.
Profile Image for Mellow.
53 reviews36 followers
November 26, 2017
I don't know what to think of this book. It paints what I believe is a fair retelling of what happened in Egypt during the Arab Spring and the events that followed (bear in mind, I'm not Egyptian). It was off to a good start, but somewhere around the middle things started to unravel. I felt like Bassem was trying to justify himself and his choices. Primarily that of leaving his country. And I couldn't help but sense his bitterness over what happened. Bassem was undeniably a phenomenon in the Arab World, and now he's been abandoned, almost forgotten. His feelings are absolutely understandable, but they were the weakness of this book. The last third was him blaming everyone around him for what happened. While he was making fun of conspiracy theorists, he himself built a conspiracy theory that puts him as the victim of evil plotters. He painted himself as the hero Egypt needed but didn't deserve, a man of morals where literally everyone around him was corrupt. While this is somewhat right, he didn't take any responsibility over the events, not even a bit. (in my opinion, you don't sign a contract with MBC without selling at least a bit of your soul). This whole holier-than-thou attitude is a sign that he wrote this book too soon, that he still needs time to process what happened, to admit to mistakes made, and to eventually give a more balanced view.
Profile Image for Hiba⁷.
846 reviews353 followers
August 8, 2018
I thought I was going to read another trashy book by some TV-show host, but no, I did not. I surely did not just finish a trashy book.

This is not just a book about Bassem Youssef himself and what he and those close to him had to go through during the Egyptian revolution and after, but also a fair retelling of what really happened, not a news representation, but one that comes from someone who really went through it all, and was there to witness what actually happened.
This was all brought in a funny frame, trying to maybe let loose some of those knots that form up in us when we're talking about the Arab spring.

I also learned so many things I ignored about Bassem Youssef, the heart surgeon who shifted from a medical career to a "threat" to the oppressive regimes.
Profile Image for Mara.
158 reviews219 followers
February 25, 2018
The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because I watched Bassem's "Tickling Giants" documentary before reading this and they both cover a lot of the same ground.
Profile Image for Mosharaf Hossain.
128 reviews65 followers
July 17, 2017
আহ! স্বপ্নের মতো দুটা দিন কেটে গেল। এই বছর আর কোনো বই এতটা হাসিনি, এতটা বাস্তবতা হজম করিনি। ৩৫০ পৃষ্ঠার বইটা শেষ করার পরে আমার বারবার কেন জানি মনে হচ্ছে, "কি হারাইলাম আমি?"। হয়ত লেখককের প্রতি আমার পূর্ব আসক্তিই মূল কারণ।

বাসেম ইউসুফ এর বই, "বেকুবদের জন্য বিপ্লব"। মিশরের এই কমেডিয়ান নিজ ডাক্তারি পেশা ছেড়ে যখন ভন্ড রাজনীতিকদের নিয়ে স্যাটায়ার করা শুরু করল, তখন হয়ত ভাবেনি এই ভাবে বড় স্বাদের আরব বসন্ত চুরি হয়ে যাবে। তিউনেশিয়ার বিপ্লব প্রচন্ড মার খেয়ে যায় লিবিয়া, সিরিয়া আর মিশরে এসে। সেখানকার বেকুবরা পারেনি তা হজম করতে।

মিশরের Jon Stewart বলে পরিচিত Bassem Youssef মূলত লিখেছেন হোসনি মুবারকের পতন, মুসলিম ব্রাদারহুডের অপসারন আর সেনা বাহিনীর ক্ষমতা দখলের দিনগুলো নিয়ে। লিখেছেন কিভাবে ক্ষমতাবানরা ভয় পেত তার প্রতিটা জোককে, কিভাবে তাকে বাধ্য করেছিল দেশ ছাড়তে।

তিনি এমন একটা দেশের কথা লিখেছেন, যেখানে সেনা বাহিনীকে সম্মান করা হয় ধর্মের থেকেও বেশি। যেখানে ইসলাম পন্থীরা চুরি করেছিল জনতার বিপ্লব। ধর্ম রক্ষার নাম করে শুরু করেছিল কর্তৃত্ববাদী শাসন। যেখানে তারুণ্যের বিপ্লবকে নাম দেওয়ার হয়েছিল, "যৌনতার বিপ্লব"। সমালোচনার বিপরীতে মানুষ দাবি করত কল্লা। সাংবাদিকরা পরিণত হয়েছিল দলকানা হাতিতে। এমন একটা দেশ যেখানে নারী সম্মেলন হত নারীর অংশগ্রহন ছাড়াই। যেখানে উদারপন্থীরা দিনশেষে নিজ খোলস ছেড়ে রূপ নিয়েছিল ফ্যাসিবাদী। ব্রাদারহুডের রক্তে রাস্তা ভিজে যাওয়ার পরে চুপ ছিল মানবতাবাদীরা। অথচ এই ব্রাদারহুডেই আগে নিয়মিত ছেঁটেছিল আর্মির পা। আর তাদের আর্মি পরিণত হয়েছিল একটা ব্যবসা প্রতিষ্ঠানে। প্রসিডেন্ট দাবি করেছিল সেনাবাহিনী আবিষ্কার করেছে এইডস এর ঔষুধ। যেখানে ২০ মিনিটের বিচারের ফাঁসির আদেশ দেওয়া হয়েছিল কয়েকশ মানুষকে।

পুরো বই পড়তে গিয়ে হেসেছি অনেকবার, তার থেকেও বেশি অনুভব করেছি ভীষণ যন্ত্রণা। মাঝেমধ্যে মনে হয়েছিল আমি পড়ছি দক্��িন এশিয়ার আরেকটা দেশের কথা। যেখানেও একই রকম ঘটনা ঘটছে প্রতিদিন। যেখানের মানুষও হাসতে ভুলে গেছে, প্রতিদিন গুম হয়ে যাচ্ছে তাদের মন, তাদের আত্না । দুর্ভাগ্যবশত আমি সেই দেশের নাম মনে করতে পারছিনা।

একজন কমেডিয়ান কতটা ঝুঁকি নিতে পারে তা দেখে অবাক হয়েছি বারবার। চ্যানেলের পর চ্যানেল তার শো বন্ধ করেছিল, কৌতুক করার অপরাধে গিয়েছিল জেলে, গ্রেফতার হয়েছিল পরিবারের সদস্যরা। তবুও হার মেনে না নেওয়া।

পুরো বই খুব কাছ থেকে দেখছি কিভাবে ক্ষমতাবানরা ভয় পায় সমালোচনাকে। সেটা ধর্মীয় শাসক হোক, স্বৈরাচার হোক আর সেনা শাসকই হোক। কীভাবে সামান্য একটা কৌতুক তাদের মনে জাগাতে পারে মসনদ হারানোর ভয়। আর দেখেছি কিভাবে মানুষ ভালোবাসে ভয় পেতে। মানুষ চায় না তার শাসককে নিয়ে হাসতে।

মধ্যপ্রাচ্য বিশেষ করে মিশরকে বুঝতে খুব সহজ, সোজা সাপটা এবং রাগঢাকহীন একটা বই। অসাধারণ। দিনশেষে বাসেম ইউসুফ বলে যায়, "But I can firmly state that in all the possible outcomes for our universe, the one remaining constant is that the Arab world will always be fucked!"
Profile Image for Emma.
270 reviews
April 25, 2017
I will admit, I didn't actually finish but I can't force myself to read this any more. This is one of the most sexist and misogynist books I have ever read. I am offended, and feel differently about the multitude of trusted entertainment figures like John Stewart and Samantha Bee who promoted this book. It was crude, rude, and unfunny. I cringed at many of the "jokes". I will not be finishing this book.
Profile Image for Hameed Younis.
Author 2 books376 followers
May 9, 2017
رغم ان هذا الكاتب كان يعتبر ليبرالياً متطرفاً في يوماً ما الا ان هذا الكتاب ينفي كل المزاعم والشكوك التي القت ظلالها على شخص باسم يوسف
الشخصية الاكثر اثارة للجدل في الشرق الاوسط قبل ثلاث سنوات من الآن
ولا انكر ان هذا الكاتب له الحق (نوعاً ما) بما يشكو ويتحجث، لكونه لاقى ما لاقى على ايدي الاسلاميين المتطرفين وعلى ايدي اليبراليين على حد سواء، وهذا كله القى ظلاله عليه فكان لنا اعلامياً لا يتكرر، على الاقل في هذا العقد الحالي الذي نعيش فيه
اقتبس للكاتب هذه الكلمات الرائعة التي تمحو عنه الكثير من الالتباسات والتشكيك الذي اصاب شخصه من قبل، فيقول في نهاية الكتاب
قبل ان تكره يجب ان تخاف، وهذا حال جميع الانظمة في الشرق الاوسط، او حتى لدى ترامب في الولايات المتحدة او لسياسيو بريكست في بريطانيا، الخوف هو دائما سلاحهم الاشد، الخوف من اللاجئين، من الناس الذين لا تبدو هيئتهم كأشكالنا، الخوف من فقدان الدين والهوية، الخوف من الحرب، ومن الدمار الذي لا محال سيقع اذا لم تتبع دكتاتورك بصورة عمياء، او ببساطة، الخوف من التعامل مع الحقائق، الواقع، والعلم، لأن الحقيقة هي ليست بالضرورة صديقتهم.

Before you hate you first need to fear. And this is what all these regimes in the Middle East, or even Trump in America or those pro-Brexit politicians in Britain are so good at. Fear has always been their best weapon. Fear of refugees, of people who don’t look like us, fear of “losing our religion and identity,” fear of war, and the destruction that will happen if you don’t blindly follow your dictator, or simply the fear arising from dealing with facts, reality, and “and science, because truth is not really their friend”
Profile Image for Sara.
602 reviews652 followers
October 9, 2017
Hilarious and Painful. Containes information we -the public- do not know about what happened to Bassem Youssef , his show and why he left the country suddenly.
For Non-Egyptians this a really scary bedtime story but for Egyptians this is their damn Real life!
I cried, laughed, rewatched the YouTube Videos, and reminisced all the glorious moments and disappointments while reading this book.
Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Hope.
166 reviews1 follower
May 26, 2017
ريفيو مؤقت لغاية ما افضى اكتب ريفيو
هو الكتاب ده مكنش وقته خاااالص
بس الصراحة في الجون
باسم اتكلم على حاجات كتير وأحداث حصلتله ورا الكواليس، ولقاءات مع ناس من السلطة يا إما اتعتم عليها أو هو متلكمش عنها
ناس كتير اتكلم عليها معرفتش هما مين غير لما اتفرجت على حلقات قديمة من البرنامج عشان اعرف مين الشخصيات دي " بس الصراحة مسح بكرامتهم الأرض :D"
كواليس خناقة CBC وتفاصيل عقده مع ال MBC واللي حصل بعدها والقضية اللى اتحكم عليه فيها
الكتاب سير�� ذاتية من منظور شخصي، بس بحكم الشخصية نفسها وإنها كانت لاعب في الأحداث في الفترة دي فالكتاب وثق للفترة من يناير 2011 لغاية ساعة كتابته

معلومات كتير وأحداث نسيناها او تناسيناها
وبغض النظر عن النبرة التشاؤمية وتحامله - من اللى حصله- إلا إن الكتاب يستحق القراءة ويستحق إننا نفتكر إللى حصل فعلا مش غسيل المخ اللى بيتعمل دلوقتي
Profile Image for Kara.
78 reviews20 followers
April 6, 2017
Bassem Youssef is a true comic hero seeking truth through satire. Experiencing Egyptian politics through the lens of his television show puts U.S. politics and resistance into perspective at a timely juncture. Yes, we are wimps in comparison! Youssef makes it clear that he is speaking from his own experience and presenting his own interpretation. With that said, I learned far more about the social and cultural nuances presented in his writing than I understood through study and while watching the events unfold in the media. As with the Arab Spring, there is no laughable ending.

Profile Image for Mani.
22 reviews4 followers
July 18, 2022
Been following Bassem Youssef since Jon Stewart's days. And this book has been on my list for a very long time. A must-read for anyone interested in politics and polarization.

I can see my own country going through a similar phase, and this book is a good blueprint for what happens when religious radicalization overtakes common sense.
Profile Image for Albaraa Najjar.
117 reviews103 followers
April 25, 2017
سيرة ذاتية مختصرة موجهة للجمهور الأمريكي عن قصة باسم يوسف الاعلامية .. مثل برنامج البرنامج كانت ممتعة، مفيدة قليلاً، غير محايدة تماماً ومليئة بالسخرية.
Profile Image for J.D..
Author 23 books169 followers
January 15, 2018

The "Jon Stewart of Egypt" describes his role in the Arab Spring and his view of its tragic failure, as Egypt went from hope to hypocritical religious dictatorship to a secular military dictatorship that was even worse and even more absurd. At one point the military announced that they'd developed a machine that cured Hepatitis C, cancer, and impotence, and their supporters believed it completely, saying any evidence to the contrary was a fake news conspiracy to make Egypt look bad (sound familiar?) Bassem Youseff's narrative is filled with humor, but also anger and deep sorrow for what his country has become. A must-read.
Profile Image for Areej Abuali.
72 reviews36 followers
October 15, 2019
In our world fear always had the upper hand..that was the case till the Egyptian revolution erupted in 2011..bassem the most famous Arabic comedy show host lived those days and it turned his world upside down..all the events mentioned in the book are very personal to me I lived it and it brought me to tears ,I got to see young Egyptian people full of integrity, pureness,empathy and love talking about thier dreams of a new great egypt..it is a very easy and enjoyable book to read
Profile Image for Jackalacka.
396 reviews3 followers
June 11, 2017
I've seen him on the Daily Show and was intrigued to know more about him. The book does not disappoint. What a f'ed up world we live in.
Profile Image for George Nageh.
17 reviews
January 25, 2021
متهيألى مفيش يوم أفضل من 25 يناير إنى أقرا فيه كتاب زى ده ، استعدت معاه أحداث الثورة و كل ما تلاها من أحداث و كنت مهتم جدا بتحليله السياسي ، برنامج البرنامج مكانش مجرد كوميديا لكن أكبر فرصه اتوفرتلنا نعرف عن السياسه و النظام و القيم و حرية التعبير و ضرورة محاسبه المسئولين على كل كلمة و تصرف ، باسم يوسف ضربلنا أقوى مثال فى قول الحق و التعبير عنه رغم ضغوط و تهديدات بالقتل ليه و لعيلته مثال حقيقي للثورة ، الثورة بمفهومها الاعلامى انك تقول الحقيقه و متطبلش للنظام ( أيا كان النظام ) ، كان ثابت على موقفه و مبادئه حتى بعد حكم الأخوان و وصول السيسي للحكم ، إعلامى زى باسم المفروض نكرمه و نديله مكانته مش يكون مكافئته انه يتغرم و يتغرب و ميقدرش يرجع بلده ، أراء و كلام باسم يوسف هتفضل دايما أكبر مصدر إلهام ليا و كانت اول و اكبر وسيلة لتكوين وجهة نظر عن البلد و السياسه و الدولة و أول نافذه أفهم م��ها عن الحاجات دى ، متهيألى هو كتب الكتاب مكانش متوقع ان ناس كتير فى مصر تقراه لكن بيتقرى و رسالته بتوصل ، و الأيديولوجى لم ينتهى بسفره من مصر و بوقف البرنامج لكن هيفضل دايما نافذة نور و نداء للصحوة و التفكير و حريه التعبير و تحكيم المنطق و التفكير و حقوق الانسان و الأقليات ، كتاب هيغير فيك حاجات كتير و هيفتحلك زاوية مختلفه تقرا بيها المشهد و متتخدعش باللى بتشوفه كل يوم من الميديا الموجهه ، أنصح بيه بشدة.
I see how my work inspired millions of young people around the Middle
East to make their own contributions. With every video, vine, and meme, I see
the youth using the Internet to challenge the hideous propaganda machine. They
are finding ways to make fun of these brutal dictatorships, and in a small way I
feel that my show is still going on. A revolution is not just an event, it is a long
process. And the process might start with those young people losing respect for
the establishments that controlled and brainwashed their parents through religion
and fake nationalism. Those young people are questioning everything. Nothing
is off limits and nothing is taboo anymore. Questioning in itself is a prequel to a
revolution. The fall of the social, religious, and military idols that controlled the
Middle East is already happening. Those idols are losing their most important
asset, being respected and being revered. The young generation is not taking this
bullshit again. They may rule for a while with fear and brutality but the respect is
long gone. It is just a matter of time.
Profile Image for Bogdan.
844 reviews1 follower
May 24, 2017
Very interesting autobiography located in the tumoultos recent history of Egypt. The author is a heart surgeon transformed by the events in a satiric journalist that has hosted the most watch show from the history in the Arab world and now lives in the USA. Why is that?!

Because of the persecution from the bad guys in Power. For now, the Army representants.

The visit of Trump coincided with me reading this peculiar book and I was impress about the way the egyptians are ruled and what they have to endure day by day.

I`m not easy to be entertain, but I found myself smiling at some of the comments, but in fact this reads more like an real social drama than a satirical book.

Tremendous stuff that puts in some light the relations between power and religion in that corner of the world.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Adam Hasan.
64 reviews
August 4, 2020
Saying this book is fantastic is a grand understatement.

Bassem is incredibly funny. It recaps the Egyptian revolution and the rise of Bassem's fiery career.
I recommend this to my friends who might wonder why Iraq's October revolution failed, this book will explain it, while also making you (literally) laugh out loud.

P.S. : If you can, try to listen to the audio-book. It's narrated by Bassem himself and his narration is excellent.
Profile Image for Ann.
764 reviews13 followers
May 16, 2017
Let me start out by saying that I love Jon Stewart and the amazing comedians who were influenced by him. Bassem Youssef created what seemed impossible at the time, an Egyptian version of the Daily Show. What amazing courage he showed making fun of dictators, the military and religion as the country descended into anarchy.

He now lives in my home town, Oakland, and cannot return to Egypt. He continues to work in media and wonders if satire and protests ever do any good. Even though it is easy to get discouraged in the short term, things do improve with time. The United States can't seem to elect a woman president, but Angela Merkel of Germany is now the leader of the free world. If Germany can survive the Nazis and become a model democratic state, then America can survive Trump.

Thank you, Dr Youssef, for your work in Egypt and welcome to the Bay Area.

Profile Image for Yaaresse.
1,994 reviews16 followers
September 17, 2018
Jon Stewart introduced Bassem Youssef to US viewers of The Daily Show as "the Jon Stewart of Egypt." It was not a casual comparison. Youssef consciously patterned the Egyptian Al-Bernameg after The Daily Show. Al-Bernameg became the first political satire show in Egypt, the first show in the Middle East to use a live audience, and the most watched show in Egypt. It ran for three years before the military shut it down, issued a warrant for Youssef's arrest, and caused him to flee the country for his safety. Apparently the Egyptian government is a bit thin-skinned and terrified of satire.

Bassem Youssef is whip-smart. He is funny. (He's easy on the eyes, too.) I have seen him on The Daily Show and Colbert's Late Night, and I watched a few episodes of his Democracy Handbook show. I was prepared to love this book. It was a little disconcerting to get into it and find myself thinking, "Eh? Maybe this isn't going to be as good as I thought. Is this going to be a three-star book? And why?"

Youssef's comedic skill is satire, but his gift is timing. It's a gift that shines in interviews and monologues, but doesn't translate as well in written form. (BTW, I think Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have the same problem: their humor depends on the voice and the timing of the punch line and doesn't translate as well to books.) In the first chapters of Revolution for Dummies, it seemed Youssef was trying too hard to be funny and depending too much on profanity for the punch line. It's a common tactic that nearly always falls flat. The f-bomb is just more effective and funny in spoken comedy than it can ever be in writing. Use profanity more than a couple times in either spoken or written form, and it just becomes a crutch to lean on rather than a stick to poke with. So there's that. But there's also a feeling that Youssef couldn't quite settle into how to approach the reader. The content was still interesting--the man has a way of explaining the chaos of the Middle East that actually starts to make some sense-- but it was awkward. First date awkward. Cocktail party awkward.

Fortunately, he hit his stride after a few chapters as he began to explain the social and political climate surrounding the regime changes within Egypt and the Egyptian version of the Arab Spring demonstrations/revolts. (Yeah. Remember the Arab Spring? Ever wonder what happened with that? Read the book.) Youssef outlines the all-too-brief history of his show and the increasing difficulties (read that as "dangers") in speaking out about hypocrisy and corruption in the government. It's true that he sounds a little self-congratulatory at times, but when you realize what this guy was managing to do and under what conditions, he deserves to pat himself on the back! How many of us live with the fear our friends and family will be arrested because we dared to make fun of the president?

And this is where the book gets real. When South African native Trevor Noah took over for Jon Stewart at The Daily Show, one of the first observations he made about the American political climate and the posturing of some of its leaders was "Hey, you know, I've seen this before...in African dictatorships and military regimes." Youssef is saying the same thing. "Hey, I'm looking at what's going on in this lovely country and a lot of it is starting to seem much too familiar. I've seen this behavior before!" At one point, Youssef points out that the speeches he heard at a Trump rally, when translated into Arabic, were indistinguishable from content and phrasing of speeches he'd heard made by Mubarek, Morsi, or Sisi regimes. The methods used to create loyalty based on fear and hate are also similar: Create a personality cult; spread conspiracy theories; discredit (and control) the media; seed paranoia; accuse those who don't agree with being unpatriotic or supporting enemies of the state; revise history with "alternative facts." Any of this sound familiar, people?

Youssef doesn't create the similarities, he simply points them out. He is, once again, being the court jester who uses satire to describe what is evident rather than what the king wants the court to believe. It's a damned thankless job, really.

Now if he could just drag Jon Stewart out of retirement. I'd pay good money to watch Stewart and Youssef do an Al-Bernameg/Daily Show together . Imagine two court jesters, Muslim and Jewish, calling out all the emperors and their sycophants. It would drive politicians everywhere insane.

(Speaking of conspiracy theories, have you ever noticed that Sisi is Isis backward? How is it that Sean Hannety has never mentioned this?)
Profile Image for Joshua.
Author 2 books28 followers
April 26, 2017
I discovered Bassem Youssef, like I suspect many people in the U.S. did, through the Daily Show. He had done one or two little correspondent pieces, but recently he made his appearance to promote this book, and after listening to him talk I realized that this guy was not only funny, like Jon Stewart, he was shrewdly intelligent. After finishing this book, my assessment still remains the same, but that's not entirely why I gave this book the review that I did.

Revolution for Dummies wasn't always a fun read, there were times where I was pushing through this book. But now matter what I kept reading because I recognized that, as a cultural document this book was vital and essential. The perception of the Middle East as one giant quagmire seems to be the prevalent opinion of many Western countries, and so when a figure like Youssef appears it can at times feel as if the man is something of a miracle, a voice of reason appearing through a mist of chaos. I recognise that this attitude is prejudice, and thus Youssef and his book becomes something important and worth reading.

Revolution for Dummies is a powerful narrative about a deeply intelligent, soulful man who wanted to better his home nation by using his talent in comedy, and sometimes with his abilities as a heart surgeon, to help people. Youssef managed through his wit, and careful observation of his culture to become the "Jon Stewart of the Middle East" because he had a keen insight into how his country was being manipulated by malevolent powers that sought only self-advancement at the expense of the people. His ultimate exile then reads like a painful tragedy.

This book should be read by any who would simply list the entire region of the Middle East as a hopeless quagmire, because even if Youssef himself would agree with the sentiment, the book offers up hope that maybe, just maybe, satire will wind up being more than just a word periodicals use to characterize political parody. It might actually be something that can enact change.
Profile Image for Nigel.
114 reviews
March 29, 2017
Sharing this Muslim comedian, almost finished this morning. I shared one of his videos this morning
, really looking forward to writing a review on this book. Satire is funny when your on the winning side but when you can't tell a hack as cynical between can't taking a joke as sarcasm gives either that the ballista against the messenger not knowing his audience or crowd source from the same people that love him hate him love him hate him memento have differentiation of extrimism/violent schizophrenic metropolitan to a disorderized/ paranoid schizophrenics metropolitan that cultures could label more society issues as addiction and mind altering, can cultures have aggrandize or variegating levels of schizotypal personalities could show how fast time can change rapidly to slowly though time in an era with generations in a throwaway transition is accommodating people or what gets dismantled for what's replacing it. It show's how many suffer from neuro-degenerating diseases be it temporary self inflicted addict or a disease. Although it's also amazing how well of schizotypal people say healthy in developing countries compared to industrial I wonder who is more privileged because of it? The country or the people? Or is any body really benefiting or does nobody benefit? Hard to say, I hate to be the one with the opinion so I may doublethink it is fearing the answer.

An interesting biography, I like how there so many types of books for dummies now. Although its comedy for being a biography I think there's some honest truth and self help to self awareness - to self discrimination that goes with it, like an almanac or in chronologies for a memoir, that it's interesting he gave up being a heart surgeon to be entertainer show's how much one can be about ones self in stardom and yet critical thinker in views. "It's amazing what people think views are to be feared or lose the fear of things on." Quote on quote from the book.

Just saw your post with sharing the Muslim comedian. ❤️

Sometimes when life is confusing or when we can't always tell what people's intentions are, it's so good to chooose love and acceptance. That's what Jesus recommends anyways. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Thanks, I am just moving my comment to a review, and going to shorten it on Facebook I think. It nice Jesus was so open, to what others would like to be feared or that when fear lost the need to be feared how that has been impacted in life.

It was a brutal world back then too. It takes bravery and courage to love others when they are different and when there is fear about those differences.

When you post and when you think, you can let Christ help you weigh your thoughts on whether you are choosing love or hate. Might be helpful? ❤️

It is helpful, it's why I read so much to cope and use blog therapy cause of the open victimization confusion I deal with from just shooting the pigeon is usual an effort not to retain it, to great success of forgetting about it even over the confusing repetition of it cause it has nothing to do with me. Although I do suffer from that, paranoia. That might be the empathy I review with being a self advocate or using for self help.
I did like this book, I'd like to comment there have been people who have made things worst or better for certain people in history but there also have been the one or the lessor few of people who have gone out of there way to help others and been a help to others through out history too.


I shared a YouTube from this author, Book was publish 2017 in march 21, only a week out. One of the first to review his book. Yay! Worth a read, widens your eyes on different places. It's interesting CBC took this author to legal lawsuit in Egypt for not having national pride and legal law against satire is not equipped of these developing nations also he was required to pay half his legal lawsuit to get payed for his show being shut down and if his show could pay the other half; he'd have to pay it if the operation didn't. And he feels lucky when his wife says he not shot. That he was a comedian on the run from the law. Way to go CBC Trudeau Lackey with an ulterior motive with m-103. Why didn't it cover that and why is there such a push to 4th world war. That we don't even know we're in, that aid is consider political advancement of western countries and is only furthering divide. Good thing we have a start drama teacher with a gig not up, his acting for selling out its people and ethical resources for blood cheap oil that polluted natural habitats for western advancement and being a celebrity that will be welcoming western culture there,
To give my pm a chance thou and not seen like he's not giving up the people or Canada's interest.


I'll post this link above, which is just wonder bread theory I guess isn't it right?

wow let's see this work it's like touching my nose, well my heads in my ass, standing on one foot with a jumping rope hopping(hoping) and a hola hoop spinning,,,,, It's only showing when helping is hurting, which is another book, that this book is a whole different kind of crazy there than the crazy here. I can't believe people can relate a west borrow baptism to brother hood of Muslims. That people can show the resembling of those the two have no resemblance besides one get challenge all the time and one can't get challenge all the time.
And if an anarchist told me to " go follow the rules", shit I'd say 5 secs ago you told me you were an anarchist, like what is this dealing with him being a clown now!

Ok one last thing.

I like Bassem cause he seems like a nice Muslim and does make my Canadian pm look like a retard. lt's cause he is a a politician that is a stage and business a theatre. In his drama career that think drama teacher balances the budget by itself but a bachelor's degrees in economies 22 second prime minister says nope it doesn't. That uneasiness of life really make what is news today seem like it's the blame game on feelings but feeling so mean shit you just sort them out after.
That drug dealers feel like they've had a Malory lapse and don't have a liberal majority or didn't vote for this moron is capgras syndrome and re-duplicative paranmesia at its finest that another individual or in another place elected this. It almost like I have to check my door 20 times before and while I leave to know I locked it, there's even an app for that besides the technology that cures all diseases is a great success we sure now how to make efficient ideology of trouble cause legality for ourself with out a justice system to I find to make industrial countries look like stuff that's new is productive and simplifying that's had a better product ages ago is bigoted or racist or sexist, that as a kid my door was always unlock now it's only for the addicted communal living arrangement that everybody finds there stuff at when searched from leaving their door unlock the same thing they've done.
That if your offend by retard maybe we should self advocate for disabilities and instead of changing the meaning of acronyms change the acronym all together cause it's like the confederate flag remembrance that (arc) means today ability resources centre but 2 decades ago [arc] meant arbiter retard centre. That an 80 year old mother still has to wake up every early morning knowing this discrimination to a 60 individual having fun there the last 60 years and takes him there barely up to the open discrimination remembrance of offences is only forgotten in heavy dose of meds for that individual but not her, that they can't tell but she can and the pain it is to others. I think we should lobby for a different acronym for the family's of these individuals that get confused at these ages what they are really saying! Change happens with the people. Let's not be bigoted by what these public servants sneak deep means ago offences and get it taught in school. People with disabilities are people to!
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