Video: Jon Stewart’s appearance on Egyptian TV

posted at 12:41 pm on June 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Jon Stewart has taken some time off of his Daily Show schedule in order to work on a different project, but that hasn’t kept him off of television altogether — at least, not in Egypt. Stewart paid a visit to the Egyptian homage to his own show in an act of solidarity after the government charged Bassam Youssef with crimes related to his satirical criticisms of Mohamed Morsi. Youssef, who has also appeared on Stewart’s show, welcomed his long-distance mentor to the stage in an unusual manner:

The Daily Show host Jon Stewart made an appearance on Egypt’s most-watched satirical show Friday night, insulting the Egyptian government and praising the show’s host Bassem Youssef, who was released on bail earlier this year after being arrested. …

Many Egyptians admire Youssef, who made Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people this year and has appeared twice on The Daily Show, which is filmed in New York.

Now, Stewart was visiting Cairo, ushered into Youssef’s studio with a black bag over his head to jokingly show he was captured as a foreign spy before he was introduced to the audience.

“Shukran!” Stewart said to the cheering crowd, meaning “thank you” in Arabic, before attempting to speak a few other words in the language.

“Your president has bestowed upon me an appointment — I am now the mayor of Luxor,” Stewart said, mocking Morsi’s recent decision to appoint a member of Gemaa Islamiya, which is a United States-designated terrorist group, as governor of the strategic tourist city.

No doubt this took considerable courage on the part of both men.  However, Stewart himself seemed to undermine that with this comment:

“If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime,” Stewart said onEl Bernameg, or The Program. “You have to be able to handle anything.”

Stewart also said that “a joke never rode a motorcycle into a crowd” as a way to dismiss the significance of shows like El Bernameg. This is disingenuous in the same way that many find the clown-nose-on-off routine from Stewart and Colbert so annoying — although in this particular case, with the acute danger Youssef faces, it’s a lot more excusable.  Satire can be a tremendously powerful weapon in politics, especially to puncture the sanctimony and self-righteousness of autocrats.  That has a tradition that goes back millenia, which is why rulers like Morsi seek to silence people like Youssef.  The jokes themselves may not drive motorcycles into crowds, but they empower people to challenge authority and ride motorcycles themselves to stand up to tyrants when needed.

Those who stage political satire are always participants in the political system.  Putting on the clown nose doesn’t fool anyone, especially not those threatened by it.  Youssef  is on the front line, generating laughter and ridicule against authoritarians who cannot survive either for very long.  Perhaps in the US that may not seem like a big deal, but in Egypt, this may become a deadly business for Youssef.  Kudos to Stewart for showing his support of Youssef, but don’t take his underestimation of Youssef’s work for anything other than the political cover Stewart intended.

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Smarmy TV clown as the ‘Conscience of America’.
.
Yep,we’re doomed.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 24, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Jon Stewart is the king of the low information voter.

beatcanvas on June 24, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Jon Stewart………..Infidel.

PappyD61 on June 24, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Don’t we give Stewart extra points for being Jewish?

Cindy Munford on June 24, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Keep him.

davidk on June 24, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Ah yes, Jon Stewart. The top news man who took off work as soon as his golden boy got mired in more s**t than ever before.

Total coincidence, I’m sure.

MadisonConservative on June 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

He’s lucky they didn’t introduce him by his given surname, Leibowitz.

Christien on June 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Yeah Jon how often do you try to land bodyblows on King Putt?

exactly sport exactly

harlekwin15 on June 24, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Stewart’s razor break, or did he lose his luggage? Or is he just doing the facial-hair thing to identify with the locals?

Marcola on June 24, 2013 at 12:55 PM

The leading him in with a bag over head head like an American hostage going to a beheading was I am sure a real knee slapper for families of real hostages.

portlandon on June 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Jon fancies himself a latter-day jester in the court of Emperor Barack I. His biggest problem, however, is that he betrays his craft and role of using comedy to speak otherwise inconvenient, uncomfortable truths to Obama and instead strives to insulate his master from them–thus making a parody of himself.

Christien on June 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM

portlandon on June 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM

What a disgusting pig. I hope he doesn’t make it back.

nyclakerfan on June 24, 2013 at 1:00 PM

By the way, that screencap captures Stewart’s essence perfectly. Old man who is still waking up drunk from the college kegger last night.

MadisonConservative on June 24, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Since he was in the neighborhood, did Jon also swing by Kenya to get people to lighten up a bit after their favorite son snubbed them yet again?

Christien on June 24, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Ed,

You should add the Mediate version since they have the whole 20 minute segment on their website.

While I want to say ‘good for Jon Jon’ for going on the show, it was one big eh. Throughout the whole segment, there was this whole subtle truth to power comparison to what Stewart thinks he does and what the Arab ‘Stewart’ think he does as well. Of course you can’t compare the two, since America believes in free speech and in Egypt, there is nothing in their culture that respects free speech. So it was one big phoney baloney love fest.

What really annoyed me during the interview was when Stewart/Arab Stewart ripped Fox News over their ‘opposition’ to the building of the Twin Tower Mosque. Of course Arabs were offended since they are always offended. But G-d forbid they take into account on what happened on that day.

Now as we all know, leftists needed to believe that they were ‘better’ ones on that issue, and side with the people who had zero sympathy toward the symbolism of having this mini-Islamic tower so close to Ground Zero. So instead of doing the right thing and side with real victims aka 2000 dead Americans, they side with the fake victims.

Finally, during their self-congratulatory bashing of Fox, it was too bad that Stewart didn’t bring up to Arab Stewart on why Egypt doesn’t allow Churches to get repaired or built, discrimination toward Christians, and out right antisemitism that has engulfed Egyptian society and in Arab society in general.

Now that would have been newsworthy. But of course that would never happen.

Lance Murdock on June 24, 2013 at 1:08 PM

The 20 minutes version is excellent and completely wasted on Hotairians.

Mmm...Burritos on June 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

When does Stewart use comedy to demand that the feds not use the IRS as a weapon?

Bishop on June 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

He and Colbert should keep the clown nose on when they’re talking seriously about their liberal views, because that’s the funniest part of their schtick. They’re such true believers.

Paul-Cincy on June 24, 2013 at 1:23 PM

The 20 minutes version is excellent and completely wasted on Hotairians.

Mmm…Burritos on June 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Stewart’s 20 minutes of semi-lucidity fails to compensate for a lifetime of bootlicking left-collectivism.

ebrown2 on June 24, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Why does anyone give this guy any credibility at all? Even WORSE is when they claim they give Colbert any attention.

Warner Todd Huston on June 24, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Never have I seen so many downright accurate comments in one place.

Of course, there’s always one who cannot get it.

Cleombrotus on June 24, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Stewart is a preening hypocritical toad who wants everything his way all the time. And if he doesn’t get it, he acts like a screaming 2-year old pounding a sippy cup on his high-chair & demanding ice cream instead of veggies.

Sacramento on June 24, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Ed’s in Egypt?

DarkCurrent on June 24, 2013 at 2:01 PM

To be fair Stewart is a prominent American Jew traveling in Egypt at a peak in anti-israeli & anti-american public sentiment, as Morsi’s clerics are rilin’ up folks to jihad in Syria.

Not a big fan of Stewart but I think this was a good thing.

It is a testament to the popularity of Youssef’s show that his audience gave such a gracious reception…And Youssef takes enormous risks producing his political satire.

If Stewart really did speak truth to power to Obama’s Big Gubmint he might risk IRS audits…Youssef risks disappearing into a dark hole or worse.

workingclass artist on June 24, 2013 at 2:08 PM

If Stewart really did speak truth to power to Obama’s Big Gubmint he might risk IRS audits Brietbart’s fate…Youssef risks disappearing into a dark hole or worse.

workingclass artist on June 24, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Yeah, I’m one of them.

Cleombrotus on June 24, 2013 at 2:13 PM

The 20 minutes version is excellent and completely wasted on Hotairians.
 
Mmm…Burritos on June 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

 
Sorry, I was finishing this week’s chapter of T.H. White’s “King” re-read a bit early.
 
You were saying something about a guy on TV, right?

rogerb on June 24, 2013 at 2:57 PM

The 20 minutes version is excellent and completely wasted on Hotairians.

Mmm…Burritos on June 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

And why would that be?

Solaratov on June 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM

You think any of those mouth-breathers know he’s Jewish? lol

PJ Emeritus on June 24, 2013 at 3:34 PM

“If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime,”

Like the Obama administration

Daemonocracy on June 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

First, let’s give credit where credit is due. As EM mentioned, satire is a powerful weapon for democracy and it is always a good thing when a celebrity uses their popularity for something as good as standing up for free speech and against political oppression. Second, Stewart is a liberal but he is also an authentic liberal. He has mocked and criticized Obama on things like the NSA and drone strikes. I admire people who have actual political beliefs rather than following the party line.

Illinidiva on June 24, 2013 at 4:13 PM

It makes you wonder how many people n the audience knew he was Jewish.

jeffn21 on June 24, 2013 at 4:20 PM

He’s lucky they didn’t introduce him by his given surname, Leibowitz.

Christien on June 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

It makes you wonder how many people n the audience knew he was Jewish.

jeffn21 on June 24, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Look, not all Egyptians are Jew-hating Islamists. I would wager that 95% of Bassam Youssef’s fans are as suspicious of the Bro-hood as we are, and do not have the desire to screw with Israel.

BigAlSouth on June 24, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Stewart is occasionally right. And at least this time around he is risking something.

As a liberal comedian in the US people may ask that your program be taken off the air. As an anti dictator Jewish comedian in an increasingly Islamist nation he risks much more.

jpmn on June 24, 2013 at 6:23 PM

The 20 minutes version is excellent and completely wasted on Hotairians.
 
Mmm…Burritos on June 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

 
Sorry, I was finishing this week’s chapter of T.H. White’s “King” re-read a bit early.
 
You were saying something about a guy on TV, right?
 
rogerb on June 24, 2013 at 2:57 PM

 
Don’t you want to tell us how awesome that TV episode of something was?

rogerb on June 24, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Not sure if the imagery of an American Jew on video in an islamic country with a black bag over his head was really the right thing.

virgo on June 25, 2013 at 1:28 AM