Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef on his interrogation: "We reviewed punchlines"

The news show host speaks to CNN after he was interrogated for five hours

By Prachi Gupta

Published April 1, 2013 10:43PM (EDT)


Bassem Youssef, Egypt's premiere satirist, was detained on Sunday following allegations that his satirical news program, "The Program," (similar to "The Daily Show") was insulting president Mohammed Morsi and the religion of Islam. The interrogation made headlines as human rights activists hailed it to be the leadership's most serious human rights infringement in the past year. He was released on bail on Sunday.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour interviewed Youssef on Monday, asking him about the experience:

"Basically we were going through the punch lines that were considered by others as an insult to the president or being in contempt to the Islamic religion. We were basically answering questions, line by line, phrase by phrase and joke by joke."

But Youssef isn't afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood, the leadership that backs Morsi. "I'm not intimidated; I'm just exhausted by this," he said. "So I'm not going to let this drain me. I'm just going to continue and continue with the show, continue with the same high tone of the show. I'm not going to back down."

Youssef hopes to get the bail of $2,200 back, but said, "If there is no case, hopefully I'll get my bail money back. If not, I'm just going to go to trial and see what happens."

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Bassem Youssef Comedy Egypt Jon Stewart Mohammed Morsi Muslim Brotherhood Satire Video