In 2001, Bassem Youssef was a surgeon who watched Jon Stewart in his free time. Now, as the Egyptian satirist said in his toast to Stewart at last night’s TIME 100 Gala, he and Stewart are often mentioned in the same context. More than that: Stewart wrote about Youssef for this year’s list of the 100 most influential people, praising his counterpart’s ability to find humor in the direst of situations: “Yet even under these difficult circumstances, he manages to produce an incredible show: a hilarious blend of mimicry, confusion, outrage and bemusement, highlighting the absurdities and hypocrisies of his country’s rebirth.”
(TIME 100: Jon Stewart praises Bassem Youssef)
Youssef returned the favor in his toast—between discussing the origin of the word sarcasm and the political power of humor—by praising Stewart as his “continuous inspiration…in a totally non-sexual way.”
He was just one of many luminaries, from Vice President Joe Biden to Youssef’s fellow humorist Jimmy Kimmel, who spoke at the annual gala in New York City.
(PHOTOS: Scenes from the TIME 100 Gala)