WashU alumna Sara Taksler is a senior producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where she has pitched stories and jokes, and researched footage for the iconic funnyman for more than a decade. Taksler is also a filmmaker. Taken together, it makes perfect sense that she decided to make Tickling Giants, the stirring documentary she directed and produced featuring Bassem Youssef, the “Jon Stewart of Egypt.”
For the unfamiliar, after the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef decided to leave his job as a heart surgeon to become a full-time comedian. At the time, it didn’t sound that crazy to Youssef. During the uprising, he volunteered his medical service to Egyptians injured during clashes with the government. In just 18 days, the people overthrew the 60-year dictatorship of Mubarek. According to Youssef, this produced a brief “honeymoon” period when it was possible to go on the air and satirize the government. Before this, he had gained nationwide popularity by posting satirical videos on the Internet. When he was offered his own TV show, Youssef jumped at the chance.
Unfortunately, that relaxation of an authoritarian regime not taking itself too seriously soon slipped away, and Youssef found himself in hot water with Morsi’s government. He was accused of insulting the government and Islam, among other things, which in Egypt are criminal offenses. After much harassment and a threatening interrogation, Youssef fled his homeland, and in 2016 he debuted his new show, Democracy Handbook, in his new home, America.
On Friday, April 7 at 4 p.m. in Wilson 214, Taksler will be on campus to show the film and lead a discussion with the audience.
Check out the website: http://ticklinggiants.com/