Ramy Youssef, co-creator of the comedy “Ramy,” has been nominated for his lead performance in Hulu’s breakthrough series about an Egyptian American millennial. The New Jersey-based character, whose life is loosely based on Youssef’s, grapples with his Muslim faith while navigating sex, dating and relationships.
Youssef reacted to his unexpected nomination Monday morning in a direct message via Twitter. “I’m just trying to keep up with Mahershala so he can stop taunting me with his Oscars on set,” he joked, referring to Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning actor Mahershala Ali, who will be featured in Season 2 of “Ramy.”
“Ramy” is an irreverent half-hour comedy that tackles Muslim-specific issues, such as the right way to wash one’s feet before prayer (episode name: “Between the Toes”), and broader comedic narratives about forging a career and love life while still living with one’s parents. In an earlier interview with the L.A. Times, Youssef explained one of the main themes in his show: “There’s this idea that when you say you’re Muslim, that you’re either all in or you’re trying to escape it. I love the idea of gradations and levels, just like everybody else has.”
Youssef is also a stand-up comedian who forged his career in New York clubs. His HBO special “Feelings” highlighted those talents when it aired in June of this year. “Ramy,” loosely based on his routine, is executive produced by Youssef, Jerrod Carmichael (“The Carmichael Show”) and Bridget Bedard (“Transparent”). The show was co-created by Youssef, Ryan Welch and Ari Katcher. The show is touted as the first Muslim American sitcom to gain traction in the U.S., and Youssef’s nomination is one of several recent breakthroughs by Muslim performers such as Ali and Aziz Ansari.