The Gist

Autocrats Can’t Take a Joke

Comedian Bassem Youssef satirized two Egyptian presidents. They were not amused.

An Egyptian walks past posters of Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef outside a theatre in Cairo on Jan. 22, 2013.

Khaled Desouki/Getty Images

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Bassem Youssef hasn’t cut open a chest in six years. And he doesn’t miss it. “Being into medicine for 19 years, it’s a character builder,” says the Egyptian comedian, who says his old job prepped him well for his new one. Youssef went from being a surgeon in Cairo to the Jon Stewart of Egypt, a satirist with 40 million views a week. Youssef’s brief reign as the king of Egyptian comedy is the focus of a new documentary, Tickling Giants, which is now out on VOD.

On the Spiel, Trump has finally accomplished something unthinkable as president. He’s got people talking about Shakespeare in the Park.

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