Egyptian-American Ramy Youssef surprised the world on Sunday night, winning a Golden Globe for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy’ for his show Ramy.
The 28-year-old beat Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method), Bill Hader (Barry), Ben Platt (The Politician) and Paul Rudd (Living With Yourself) to claim the Golden Globe.
In his victory speech, Youssef started by making fun of host Ricky Gervais’ monologue that saw him criticize actors who thank God in their acceptance speeches.
“Allahu Akbar (God is Great). I want to thank my God,” said Youssef at the start of his victory speech, which was the first of the night.
“Look, I know you guys haven’t seen my show,” joked Youssef, receiving laughs from the audience.
“We made a very specific show about an Arab-Muslim family living in New Jersey and this means a lot to be recognised on this level, so I do want to thank everyone who was involved.”
Backstage, Youssef thanked his family and colleagues for their support and reiterated the importance of the show.
“Sometimes, in this specific industry, networks feel like they need to sell something like toothpaste. So getting something like this shows you can really relate to people with something that feels really granular. Symbolically, I hope this allows people to make more stories,” said Youssef before explaining what the show meant to him.
“There are tendencies to make a show of people you don’t know, to make them look good. I wanted to lead with our problems and things people connect on a human level with.”
Youssef’s victory also marks streaming network Hulu’s first Golden Globe for a comedy actor in a television show. Ramy was commissioned by Hulu and debuted on the network on 9 April 2019.
Born in the United States to Egyptian parents, Youssef is the creator, executive producer and protagonist of Ramy. The show mirrors Youssef’s own childhood and is about an young Egyptian-American navigating his identity as a second generation American and Muslim.
The show sees Youssef tackle a number of social, cultural and religious issues and even sees him travel to Cairo, Egypt as part of his journey.