You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?

Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Bassem Youssef: Now I have to answer for this?

In Egypt, comedy can be a matter of life and death. But life in America's no cakewalk either. Political satirist Bassem Youssef on reinventing yourself, crossing cultural lines, and the future of space exploration.

Politics & Current Affairs

My grandmother used to tell a story about coming to America from Poland. How she sang God Bless America to cheer up all the grownups on the ship. She was 5 or 6 years old, traveling alone with her mom. For her, it must have been a big adventure. I can hardly imagine what it was like for her mom— my great grandmother — how bad things must have been for Jews in their home town of Bialystok for her to pick up and leave like that, without her husband, heading toward some distant cousin in the undiscovered country of Vineland, New Jersey.


My guest today left Egypt as an adult for the US, also under politically grim circumstances. During the Arab Spring, as his country convulsed toward revolution, he became a leading voice of dissent. A trained surgeon, he made an unlikely transition to famous tv satirist for millions of viewers on his nightly political comedy show. Bassem risked jail, helped facilitate the toppling of a dictator who'd been in power for 30 years, and after all that change decided it was time to start a new life in America.

And just yesterday I was complaining that I'm sick of New York City, but I don't see how I could possibly leave . . .

Bassem Youssef is a comedian, writer, and the smart, funny host of the podcast ReMade in America.

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

Alvin Hall on being black in the US vs. the UK

Michio Kaku on the new economics of space exploration

Alice Dreger on social media slacktivism


About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think's interview archives.

You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.


Come talk to us
on Twitter: @bigthinkagain


Related Articles

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less

Conflict Photographer Lynsey Addario on Art, Love, and War

For two decades she's traveled the world, photographing humans in crisis. Pulitzer and MacArthur winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario on what it's all taught her.

Think Again Podcasts
  • a story of survival that leaves our host speechless
  • and a story of casual cruelty that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief
Keep reading Show less

Ben Marcus' reality is only slightly askew from our own

Notes from the Fog author Ben Marcus on Elon Musk, the weird existential joys of the reality TV show Castaways, and whether we will eat in the future.

Think Again Podcasts
  • A grow lamp for humans?
  • A mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism?
  • How realism and postmodernism fell in love and had babies.
Keep reading Show less

Connect with us

How to listen

You can listen to Think Again right here on site, or select your podcast app:

Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher RSS feed