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

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less

Joseph Goldstein – Lighten Up: mindfulness, enlightenment, and everyday life

One of the most influential Buddhist teachers and writers of the past half-century, Joseph Goldstein helped bring Vipassana (insight) practice to the West. We talk about love, pop-mindfulness, and how even a philosopher can learn to quiet the mind.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Neuroscience's romance with meditation
  • Puppy videos as a deep spiritual practice
  • How the "retreat" was born

Keep reading Show less

Area 51 and the epistemology of the unexplained

30 years later, a new investigative documentary on Bob Lazar's claims about Area 51 raises some ghosts, some hell, and some unsettling questions.

Think Again Podcasts
  • What if aliens have been visiting us all along?
  • "Skeptical optimism" and investigations into the unknown
  • Neurodiversity and deficiencies as sources of power

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