In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef makes a decision that’s every mother’s worst nightmare… He leaves his job as a heart surgeon to become a full-time comedian.
Dubbed, “The Egyptian Jon Stewart,” Bassem creates the satirical show, Al Bernameg. The weekly program quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged 2 million viewers.
In a country where free speech is not settled law, Bassem’s show becomes as controversial as it is popular. He and his staff must endure physical threats, protests, and legal action, all because of jokes. As Bassem attempts to remain on the air, keep his staff safe, and not get arrested, he continues to let those in power know they’re being held accountable. Despite increasing danger, the team at Al Bernameg employ comedy, not violence, to comment on hypocrisy in media, politics, and religion.
TICKLING GIANTS follows the team of Al Bernameg as they discover democracy is not easily won. The young women and men working on Bassem’s show are fearless revolutionaries, who just happen to be really, really funny.
No unicorns or falafel were harmed in the making of this film.