'Egyptian Jon Stewart' Bassem Youssef Says Show Pulled Off Air

The comedian tells news conference the Saudi-owned station was put under more pressure 'than it could handle.'

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Jon Stewart, center, appears on show hosted by Bassem Youssef, left, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday June 21, 2013. Credit: AP

Egypt's top TV satirist said on Monday his show had been cancelled, in a move likely to raise speculation he was pulled off the air because his latest script poked fun at a presidential election won by the former army chief.

Bassem Youssef, known as the "Egyptian Jon Stewart", told a news conference the Saudi-owned MBC Masr TV station had been put under more pressure "than it could handle".

Last week's presidential election was won easily by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the man who toppled Egypt's first freely-elected leader last year.
Youssef's associates told Reuters his latest show, never broadcast, had made fun of the low turnout in the presidential vote, the pro-Sissi media frenzy and women supporters dancing at polling stations.

The comic rose to fame with a satirical online show after the revolt that swept autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011. His program, later broadcast on television, has been compared to the U.S. satirical comedy "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart".

Youssef was pulled off the air last year while working for Egypt's CBC channel after he mocked Sissi.

Youssef's predicament will raise new questions about freedom expression in Egypt, the most populous Arab state.

"We will all miss this theatre that we built from scratch," he said at the news conference, asking his crew to come on stage for a final gathering.
"We hope to live the day when we can do the show the way we want it, with no pressures."  

Bassem Youssef in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 8, 2014.Credit: AP