Ramy Youssef scored a surprise victory Sunday at the Golden Globes, winning for lead actor in a comedy series for “Ramy,” an irreverent, highly personal Hulu series about a first-generation Muslim American from an Egyptian family.
The 28-year-old seemed surprised to be taking home the first acting prize of the night.
“Allahu Akbar. I want to thank my God,” he said, using the Arabic phrase for “God is great,” an apparent jab at host Ricky Gervais, who in his monologue sneered about actors thanking God when they win awards.
“I was going to say it anyway,” Youssef told reporters backstage after accepting his prize. I’m very thankful to God, and my show is about someone who believes in their faith, so I naturally don’t always feel like I’m on the same page with the comedic styles of Ricky Gervais on that subject.”
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Youssef joked about being relatively unknown compared to some of his fellow nominees. “Look, I know you guys haven’t seen my show. Everyone’s like, ‘Is this an editor?’ We made a very specific show about an Arab Muslim family living in New Jersey, and this means a lot to be recognized on this level.”
He also quipped that “my mom also was rooting for Michael Douglas,” who was nominated for “The Kominsky Method” on Netflix. Youssef, who fielded embraces and pecks on the cheek from the likes of Ben Platt and Jeremy Strong near the men’s restroom, planned to FaceTime his parents when the show was over.
The other nominees were Bill Hader (“Barry,” HBO), Ben Platt (“The Politician,” Netflix) and Paul Rudd (“Living With Yourself,” Netflix).
“Ramy,” which streams on Hulu, is considered the first mainstream Muslim American sitcom.
Backstage, Youssef told reporters his goal was not to represent all Muslim Americans with the series, which humorously addresses stereotypes.
“I think this show is called ‘Ramy,’ and part of why we picked that is because we didn’t want to call it ‘Muslims.’ We didn’t’ want to call it something that would blanket a group of a million people. It’s a really specific story. It’s one Egyptian family in North Jersey... Symbolically, hopefully it allows people to make more stories.”
Times staff writers Christi Carras and Yvonne Villarreal contributed to this report.