He lives in exile far from the revolution and time that made him famous.
Out near La Brea, drizzle blows through jacaranda, a gardener hurries past a pool. Bassem Youssef sips coffee, craving a mango from Egypt, his homeland, where from a laundry room in his apartment he started a political satire show that captured the passion of the 2011 uprising and turned him into one of the most influential voices in the Middle East.
That’s over, at least for a while. Death threats and pressure from the military-backed government of President Abdel Fattah Sisi forced him to flee Cairo. Now, at 43, Youssef, a former heart surgeon, is taking acting classes, arranging meetings with agents and producers, working on his elocution, writing scripts and seeking reinvention in a new city that is at once fantastical and cruel.