Jon Stewart appears on show of Bassem Youssef, "Egypt's Jon Stewart"

"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart is seen during a taping of Egyptian comedy show "Al-Bernameg" ("The Program") with host Bassem Youssef July 19, 2013, in Cairo. "Al-Bernameg"

CAIRO Jon Stewart may have taken a break from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" for now, but he showed up Wednesday in Cairo as a guest on Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef's hit television show, "Al-Bernameg" ("The Program").

Youssef was a heart surgeon three years ago. After Egyptians took to the streets in January 2011 and toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak 18 days later, Youssef started doing comedy. He launched a YouTube channel with some friends, providing a critical and satirical take on politics and current events.

Today, he's a television superstar with one of the most widely watched programs in the Middle East. Every Friday at 9:30 p.m. in Cairo, street cafes and restaurants turn their televisions to Egypt's CBC to watch Youssef poke fun at those in power.

The episode of "Al-Bernameg" featuring Stewart is scheduled to be broadcast Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Youssef uses his program to satirize and mock government in a way that, in scope and degree, is unprecedented in Egypt. That's landed him in hot water with the Egyptian government and its Islamist allies, who are frequent targets on "Al-Bernameg." As a result, Youssef has had a number of defamation and libel lawsuits filed against him.

If "Al-Bernameg" looks familiar to an American television audience, that's because it is; Youssef explicitly modeled his program on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." But, on Wednesday, it was Stewart on the guest couch.

Stewart has frequently come to the defense of his Egyptian counterpart. He has invited Youssef on his own show twice. During the ceremony honoring Time magazine's 100 most influential people in April, Stewart referred to Bassem as his "hero."

Wednesday's trip was a short one for the "Daily Show" host - only 18 hours in total - just enough time to tape an episode of Egypt's hottest comedy TV show and fit in a quick visit to the Giza pyramids.

  • Alex Ortiz

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