Dubai got its first taste of Bassemania on Saturday night as Egyptian satirist Bassem Yousuf visited the emirate to celebrate the debut of a new lifestyle magazine.
Enigma Star – the Arabic version of Egypt’s top-selling English magazine, Enigma – saw its launch at a star-studded event at OKKU Dubai with the crème de la crème of the Arab world’s finest in attendance, including Yousra, Laila Elwi and Khaled Al Nabbawy. Although Enigma Star’s debut cover star Ahmad Mekky didn’t make it to Dubai, it is without question that the night belonged to man of the moment Yousuf, who had just flown back from the United States where he was honoured as one of TIME’s top 100 influential people of 2013.
Speaking of the achievement, Yousuf told tabloid!: “There’s no doubt that it is great to be recognised, and it is a fantastic achievement, but what matters is that we go back, and continue to produce a good show for the fans. It is a lot of hard work, but that’s our priority.”
Having been actively tweeting photos of him with celebrities such as Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon at the TIME 100 gala, the comedian admitted he enjoyed meeting these famous faces.
“Obviously, I can’t deny that I was a little starstruck when I was at the event,” he said, smiling. “But I guess I am allowed to be, right? It was a lovely time, and a great two hours at the event, but now it’s back to business.”
Those who follow Yousuf will know that the star has faced a number of lawsuits filed by the Egyptian government due to his no-holds-barred comedy show Al Bernameg. The show is now on hold for two weeks while Yousuf is on vacation (“I need a break!” he tells us). However, the satirist is optimistic the entertainment industry will improve in the near future.
“We need to get out of this slum, and I would love to see TV that is more diverse, as well as have theatre and cinema get revived. I am optimistic we will change for the better.”
Meanwhile, a host of Arab stars were on hand to sing the praises of Enigma founder Yasmine Shihata and editor-in-chief Daliah Galal. While actor Al Nabbawy blanked media as usual, Yousra told Tabloid!: “I wish her all the best as Yasmine is one of the most active women in Egypt and the Middle East, and I am so happy that she has opened an office in Dubai.”
Tunisian star Sameera Saeed, who resides in Cairo, said: “It’s nice to be here, because of the good vibes. I really needed to get out and have a change from sitting in front of the TV and following the news. It’s good to be able to change my environment.”
Also in attendance were Arwa Gouda and Razan Al Moughrabi.
Rachel McArthur writes about Arabic entertainment every Thursday in Showbiz Arabia