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‘Ramy’ becomes first Muslim American sitcom to land an Emmy nomination

Ramy Youssef in "Ramy."
Ramy Youssef in an episode of “Ramy.”
(Craig Blankenhorn / Hulu)

TV’s first Muslim American sitcom has scored an Emmy nomination.

Ramy Youssef, the co-creator and star of Hulu’s “Ramy,” was among those recognized in the comedy actor category when the 2020 Emmy nominations were announced Tuesday morning. Youssef was also nominated for directing, while Season 2 co-star Mahershala Ali earned a supporting actor nod.

“Ramy,” which released its second season in May, is an irreverent half-hour comedy that follows Egyptian American Ramy Hassan (Youssef) as he grapples with his Muslim faith while navigating life as a millennial in New Jersey.

“There’s this idea that when you say you’re Muslim, that you’re either all in or you’re trying to escape it,” Youssef told the L.A. Times in a previous interview. “I love the idea of gradations and levels, just like everybody else has.”

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In January, Youssef’s performance was recognized at the Golden Globe Awards, where he took the prize for lead actor in a comedy series. Despite “Ramy’s” critical acclaim, Youssef was considered a long shot in a category that included a number of well-known comedy vets such as Bill Hader and Paul Rudd.

Although “Ramy” is considered the first mainstream Muslim American sitcom, it is not the first series focused on a Muslim person to be recognized by the Television Academy.

“Master of None,” which starred co-creator Aziz Ansari as Indian American and secular Muslim Dev Shah, scored 12 Emmy nominations over its two-season run. It won the comedy writing Emmy in both 2016 and 2017 (Ansari and co-creator Alan Yang were the winners in 2016, while the 2017 award was shared by Ansari and Lena Waithe).

2017 was also the year actor Riz Ahmed was recognized for his work on “The Night Of,” in which he portrayed Nasir Khan, a Muslim college student accused of murder. Ahmed won the Emmy for lead actor in a limited series, making him the first Muslim and person of Asian decent to win a lead acting Emmy.


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