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Heart surgeon turned comedian, Egypt's Bassem Youssef begins "The Middle Beast" tour

In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef poses during an interview with The Associated Press in Cairo, Egypt.   -  
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Nariman El-Mofty/AP


Bassem Youssef is hitting Europe. The Egyptian satirist is about to embark on a 16-date European tour starting in London on April 6, and ending in Paris on May 5.

The show is titled "The Middle Beast" tour - and is solely in English, Youssef's second language. He expects it could be the same for the rest of the audience across Europe, with some members perhaps watching the show in what could be their third language. 

He finds speaking across languages to be interesting, “finding the references, the common ground, the humour." Youssef describes the show as his "origin story," and the 50-year-old had an unusual route to the stage.

"I did a few videos after the Arab Spring satirizing the state run media, and then it went viral, and then suddenly I've been offering my own television show, and it started from there," he recalled.

His previous job was a heart surgeon, which was an interesting juxtaposition:"At a certain point, I was doing both, which was funny because I started to get famous and I would go to the hospital and people would recognise me, and I don't think that they took me seriously because, like, they want you to laugh and then I'm coming here to talk to them about their heart operation," he smiled.

Youssef has over 11M followers on X (formerly Twitter) and 7M+ on Instagram, but doesn't consider himself to be a "content creator." Instead, he entertains his fans with posts from his shows or interview clips – finding the latter to be a good way of digesting content:

“So, when I do an interview that is like an hour, an hour and a half, people don't have time (for) that. So what I do is I cut the important parts and I put them in like smaller videos, and I think it can deliver the message in a much more effective way," he said.