Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s most popular satirist who has been called the country’s Jon Stewart, is preparing to bring back his wildly popular show two months after being tossed off the airwaves for criticizing the government.
Youssef, a TIME 100 honoree last year, hosted the popular but controversial program “El-Bernameg” (Arabic for ‘The Program”), which he used as a platform to criticize those in power in Egypt. “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,” Jon Stewart wrote about Youssef last spring.
Last fall, private broadcaster CBC suspended “El-Bernameg” after its first show of the season, saying Youssef “refused to commit to the editorial policy.” Now Youssef is planning a comeback, telling the AP that his team of writers has been reviewing scripts and getting ready to go back on the air with a week’s notice. He says many channels are eager to broadcast the show, but declined to say which ones.
Despite his show’s past controversies, it doesn’t look like Youssef and his crew will be altering their mission very much. “We never self-censor,” he told the AP. “It’s not what we say about the government or don’t say, it is how to make people laugh and have a good time. In times like these this is a huge challenge.”