Ramy Youssef’s show ‘Ramy’: The funniest comedian currently on TV
Another show written by and starring a comedian that dropped on Hulu in April 2019, brought a different perspective to this style of comedy show. Like other humorous introspective shows such as Louie, Shrill, and Master of None, Ramy seeks to bring out the funny side of painful & awkward life can be and in this case the show portrays the comedy of living as a American Muslim.
The show’s creator Ramy Youssef stars in the title role as a first-generation American Muslim seeking to reconcile his faith to his surroundings in a politically divided New Jersey neighborhood. The story looks at Ramy’s family life, his friendships, and his role in a country that mistrusts him deeply to produce a hilarious yet thoughtful look at a little explored worldview.
Another lens to look through
Ramy Hassan lives with his family in New Jersey and spends his time as an unemployed millennial not doing much of anything. His Egyptian-immigrant parents, Farouk (Amr Waked) and Maysa (Hiam Abbass), dote on their boy while also pushing him to be more productive and ambitious in his life.
Like his family, Ramy is religious but takes a more lack-a-daisical approach to the whole affair (like he does with almost everything else). He doesn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs and he attends mosque regularly. At the same time, he doesn’t commit fully to the rituals of prayer and engages in pre-marital sex.
The show follows Ramy manuever his way through a series of hookups as he tries to find a girl that can fit in with his life as a Muslim and a milennial American. Ramy struggles finding his way in New Jersey, often idealizing Egypt as a place where he could more accepted as a Muslim and be apart of a community. In the last two episodes of the series, Ramy takes a trip to visit his family in Egypt and find himself there.
A deeper look
The humor on the show can range from light & playful to some darker jokes concerning sensitive subjects. At one point, Ramy’s friend Mo kids that a Ramadan attendee is really an FBI agent in disguise sent to keep tabs on their Muslim community. This type of deep-cutting humor calls back to Youssef’s stand-up material, like his jokes about expecting a Hogwarts letter from ISIS.
Behind the humor are truly interesting complexities with Ramy’s communities. There is racism and racial tension directed at the Hassan family such as when Ramy lost many of his friends after the 9/11 attacks. There is also racism within their family as Ramy’s uncle Naseem displays sexist and anti-Semitic behavior. Ramy’s friends also react strongly when Ramy pursues a relationship with a Jewish girl.
Ramy then has his own flaws. He has the freedom to pursue casual sex with anyone he likes but is putoff when a Muslim woman also engages in hookup culture. In the same way, he dismisses the obvious double standards his parents hold for himself and his sister Dena (May Calamawy) as she is not even allowed to see friends without a curfew while Ramy can come and go as he pleases.
Ramy breaks many boundaries for American Muslim stories and takes a crack at relieving some tension in the US today by supplying an informative view of American Muslim living. There is more to come from Ramy Youssef’s series and the expectations are high. Look out for the new season of Ramy coming to Hulu May 29.