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'Egypt's Jon Stewart' Kicked Off The Air

First, Bassem Youssef, a satirist known as "Egypt's Jon Stewart," angered the Islamists; now he's angered the military that ousted them.

Here's how The Wall Street Journal tells the story:

"Mr. Youssef, currently one of the most widely watched comedians in the Arab world, was taken off air just minutes before the second episode of the season was scheduled to air. The decision comes a week after influential comedian delivered some pointed jabs at the Egypt's powerful, ultra nationalist military in his first episode of the season. ...

"In his show, Mr. Youssef typically targets both sides of Egypt's divided political scene. Mr. Youssef and members of his show's media team were not available for immediate comment. Shady Alfons, a comedian and cast member on the show, told The Wall Street Journal that he and the team were made aware of the decision 'just like everyone else' watching TV that evening.

"The TV station, which is funded by some of the most influential and wealthiest investors in Egypt, issued a statement on its network saying it had decided to suspend Mr. Youssef's 'Al Barnameg,' or 'The Show' after content planned for the night's episode had 'violated what had been agreed upon' with the station."

Al Ahram reports that the production company behind the show denies breaking its contract with the TV network.

Youssef, you may recall, has been in trouble before. Back in March, he got in trouble for criticizing President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military. Then in April, we told you that the Morsi government was threatening to pull the TV station's license for insulting the president and Islam.

Youssef came to national prominence here in the United States when Jon Stewart criticized Morsi's actions and the U.S. embassy tweeted a link to the monologue.

After his latest show, Al Jazeera reports that Egypt's top prosecutor announced he was investigating Youssef for harming "national interests by ridiculing the country's military on his TV show."

NPR's Rima Marrouch tells us that like Youssef has done in the past, the episode that was supposed to air Friday, was posted on YouTube. When we go to the link, however,it looks like it's been taken down.

Note: This post was updated to fix the spelling of Jon Stewart (rather than John; thanks, readers).

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.