Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Transcript: Bassem Youssef on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart: Welcome back. Now that we know that everything we hold dear in this world ... is a lie!! — especially about the Middle East — it makes you wonder, what IS going on over there?
Wolf Blitzer, CNN, 2014-01-23: A wave of crises engulfing countries all across the Middle East...
Fox News, 2014-08-01: In the Middle East, things are just basically falling apart...
Fox News, 2015-01-21: Big trouble in the country of Yemen...
CNN, 2015-01-25: The growing terrorism problem in Egypt...
CNN, 2015-02-09: Very, very gruesome and ugly battle over there...
Jon Stewart: [thumbs up, ironic smile] Here to help us make sense of it all is Egypt's foremost political satirist, host of the now banned television program Al-Bernameg, Bassem Youssef. Bassem, thanks for joining us! Welcome!
Bassem Youssef: Thank you, good to be here!
Jon Stewart: Bassem, obviously right now, the Middle East, spiraling out of control, so tell me, what should America do about this?
Bassem Youssef: Well, how about [big smile] — nothing? [audience laughs & cheers] Oh, thank you. Yes, I feel the love. Yes.
Jon Stewart: I, uh ... okay, we haven't tried that one yet.
Bassem Youssef: Yeah, we noticed. How do you think our region got this way in the first place? For decades, America propped up a "Who's Who" of military and theocratic dictators. [photos of the Shah of Iran, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan] They gave you what you wanted: oil, airfields, oil, security arrangements, oil — and, let's not forget, [speaking softly, reaching across to Jon Stewart's hand] a few torture black sites.
Jon Stewart: Hey, hey! ... "Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?" [laughter]
Bassem Youssef: Ah, we know what you're into. "Mr. Grey will see you now..." [laughter] And in return, the dictators got someone their people could hate instead of them. When the garbage doesn't get picked up for a week back home, who do you think people blame?
Jon Stewart: I'm gonna go with the sanitation department.
Bassem Youssef: Exactly! We blame America. [laughter] So, you see, everybody gets what they want. It's a "win-win," Jon.
Jon Stewart: It's not a "win-win," Bassem. Not a "win-win." Not for the people; for them, it's a "lose-lose," and then no garbage pickup "lose."
Bassem Youssef: Oh, "the people" [scoffs]. You don't want them choosing their own government.
Jon Stewart: No! I — I don't??
Bassem Youssef: What if they elect someone America doesn't want? If you had a friend who was a manager at Best Buy, but he's always a total asshole, would you want him fired?
Jon Stewart: [hesitates] I mean, if I would lose my "friends and family" discount ... Ohhh. [laughter] You're saying the next guy might make us pay retail.
Bassem Youssef: If he even lets you in the store, Jon.
Jon Stewart: Well, you know what? That's okay. The people choose the wrong government ... we'll help them get it right. We'll send in a few tanks, maybe some boots on the ground, some advisors, you know, to ...
Bassem Youssef: Are you listening to yourself, Jon? Let it go. ♬ Let it go, let it go, slam the door and ... ♬
Jon Stewart: [covering his ears] I thought drones were the worst thing we exported to that region. That's ... whooo!
Bassem Youssef: The princess, she's the devil!
Jon Stewart: I know.
Bassem Youssef: Seriously, though, you can't let it go. America is like a dog with a hot spot on its butt, called the Middle East. And you think you have to keep licking it, but you're just making it worse! [laughter]
Jon Stewart: Are you saying — are you saying that America has to —
Bassem Youssef: Uh huh, yes! [brings out plastic cone]
Jon Stewart: Oh no, not the cone!
Bassem Youssef: You need the cone, Jon. America needs the cone. Yes.
Jon Stewart: We can't wear the cone! Son of a bitch! [applause and laughter] Wait a minute!
Bassem Youssef: What?
Jon Stewart: You're doing it, too! You're blaming America!
Bassem Youssef: What, me??
Jon Stewart: Yes! You are. You're pretending that we're responsible for all the Middle East's problems.
Bassem Youssef: [scoffs] No.
Jon Stewart: Admit it! That "hotspot on our butt" was festering before we even licked it!
Bassem Youssef: Gross! Ewwww!
Jon Stewart: Quit blaming the dog! The metaphor was yours. Look: America didn't create all the corruption that cripples Middle Eastern governments. We didn't establish the entire patriarchy or the medieval justice systems. You know what? I got a song for you, buddy! ♬ I'm so fancy ♬ No, that's not it. [laughter] [slaps desk] ♬ We didn't start the fire... ♬ — 'cause it was all fucked up before we even got there!
Bassem Youssef: Let it go!
Jon Stewart: Oh, stop! I'll ask you one more time: what should America do?
Bassem Youssef: Okay. We want you to fuck off and leave us alone. [cheers and applause]
Jon Stewart: All right. You know what? Fine! Fine. Done!
Bassem Youssef: Yeah! [pause] But not right away. [laughter] We could still use the aid money. And a few weapons. And some investments. What I'm saying is, if you could fuck gradually off, that would work better for everybody.
Jon Stewart: Bassem Youssef, everybody.
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