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Political TV satire Al Bernameg takes a break

Widely popular host has gained notoriety for poking fun at the government

Image Credit: AP
File -- In this Sunday, March 31, 2013 file photo, Egyptian television satirist Bassem Youssef — known as Egypt's Jon Stewart —waves to his supporters as he enters Egypt's state prosecutors office to face charges for allegedly insulting Islam and the country's leader, in Cairo, Egypt. A Cairo court turned down on Saturday, April 5, 2013, a separate suit filed by a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer demanding that a popular Egyptian satirist's TV show be banned for allegedly insulting the president and excessive sexual innuendo. There have been multiple complaints filed in courts and to state prosecutors by Islamist lawyers against Youssef and other public figures for their political or religious opinions. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Gulf News

Cairo: Egypt’s widely popular political TV satire show will go off the air for three weeks, famed host Bassem Yousuf said late on Friday.

Yousuf, dubbed Egypt’s John Stewart, said in the last episode of his show Al Bernameg (The Programme) that the break was meant as a holiday for him and his team after an exhausting season.

The former heart surgeon was questioned last month and released on bail for allegedly insulting Islam and President Mohammad Mursi.

However, in Friday’s episode, Yousuf fired more barbs at Mursi, mocking his decision-making and way of speaking English. Going further, Yousuf compared the Islamist president to his jailed predecessor Hosni Mubarak and the former presidential contender Ahmad Shafiq.

“Egypt deserve better than the three,” Yousuf commented.

Yousuf rose to fame through YouTube videos following a 2011 revolt that deposed Mubarak.

His popularity widened after he started presenting his show on the private TV television CBC.

The Time magazine has recently picked Yousuf, 39, among the world’s most influential 100 people.

“I am honoured to be on the list of The Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world,” he tweeted.

Yousuf left for Paris to attend an Arab cultural event and will be in New York later in the week for a Time gala, sources close to him said.

Paying tribute to Yousuf on the occasion, Stewart called the Egyptian satirist “my hero”.

“Bassem Yousuf does my job in Egypt. The only real difference between him and me is that he performs his satire in a country still testing the limits of its hard-earned freedom, where those who speak out against the powerful still have much to fear,” Stewart writes in the latest edition of Time.

Yousuf often satirises the ruling Islamists, public figures and even colleagues, drawing a flurry of legal complaints against him.