FROM Sara Taksler
Bassem Youssef and Sara Taksler on 'Tickling Giants' In June 2012, Egypt was in transition. Following the protests of the Arab Spring, ousted leader Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison, and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi became the new president. That month, Jon Stewart invited Bassem Youssef to appear on The Daily Show, where he introduced him as, "a heart surgeon who also hosts a satirical news program in Egypt." The tale of how Bassem Youssef went from performing heart surgery to performing comedy, first on YouTube, and then on live television, is told in the new documentary Tickling Giants . Youssef joins us on the show today along with Sara Taksler -- the director of the film and a producer on The Daily Show -- which is where she and Youssef first met. Following his Daily Show appearance, Youssef launched a live show in Egypt with a very similar look, and it began to draw a much bigger audience than the American original. The Arab Spring made comedy a possibility, but satire in Egypt still was not without risks. A warrant was issued for Youssef's arrest for allegedly mocking President Morsi and making fun of Islam. Those charges eventually were dropped, but the risks of mocking the government only escalated, especially once Morsi was ousted as president. Eventually he was replaced by the military-backed Abdel Fattah El-Sisi -- a man the New York Times editorial board recently called "an enemy of human rights." Under Sisi, Youssef's show was cancelled – twice -- and eventually he was forced to flee the country. Youssef and Taksler tell us about those perils of producing satire in Egypt, why they were accused of being spies for the CIA, and what Youssef's life in America is like now. The film Tickling Giants is available on Netflix international and is playing at colleges and festivals around the US.
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.
Previewing James Comey's blockbuster testimony Former FBI director James Comey testifies Thursday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but his opening statement has been released. In it, he says he felt pressured by Donald Trump to declare loyalty to him and publicly clear him of any wrongdoing in the Russia investigation.