Story at a glance

  • Ramy Youssef co-created and starred in the Hulu comedy-drama series “Ramy” about an Egyptian American family.
  • The actor and comedian won a Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy TV series.
  • Youssef thanked God in his acceptance speech after host Ricky Gervais had poked fun of actors doing so in the opening monologue.

Ramy Youssef wasn’t expecting to take home the first Golden Globe of the night.

“Look, I know you guys haven't seen my show,” he quipped in his acceptance speech, earning laughs from the crowd. 

Youssef won best actor in a comedy TV series at the first major film awards of the year on Jan. 5 for his role in “Ramy,” a comedy-drama that premiered on Hulu last year. He shares a name with the main character, and said the name of the show was deliberate.  

“We didn’t want to call it Muslims, we didn’t want to call it something that would blanket a group of a billion people, it’s a really specific story,” he said backstage after the awards. 

It’s the story of an Egyptian American family living in New Jersey, and of Ramy, a first-generation American Muslim navigating faith as a millennial. Youssef, an Egyptian-American who co-created and wrote for the show, said he wanted to avoid the urge to showcase only the best of the Muslim community. 

“I really wanted to lead with our problems and I wanted to lead with things that people would connect on a human level with, so I took things that I’ve struggled with and took them a little further than I’ve struggled with them,” he said. “And I turned that into something that will hopefully make people feel seen, a little less lonely.”

The series has been renewed for another season, with actor Mahershala Ali joining the cast as a special guest star. 

“It symbolically hopefully allows people to make more stories,” Youssef said. “Like a story about a woman who wears a headscarf who’s Muslim, because I think if you watch my show you’ll realize, ‘oh I see his perspective so much, I actually also need hers.’ So there’s not just one show for one group, it’s really about the type of stories and the way that they’re told.”

So when the name he shares with his character was read at the Golden Globes, the comedian and actor had one immediate thought.  

“I was just happy they pronounced it right,” he said.

Published on Jan 06, 2020