As a millennial and a first-generation American, Ramy has a different outlook on life than his parents. Understandably, millennials are an easy target, but do you think there are any areas in which we should cut them some slack?
RY: I think millennials can get a bit of slack on still living at home. There used to be this stigma of, “Oh, you’re still living at your parents house?” But now it’s like, “Of course you are. Why wouldn’t you be?” There are real economic things to consider. But that being said, avocado toast is insane. It’s very expensive.
A large part of Ramy’s experience involves dating and his parents’ desire to for him to marry a Muslim woman. Have your parents ever tried to set you up before?
RY: No, they haven’t. My parents have been very cool about knowing what I’m trying to prioritize and giving me my space, so it hasn’t come up. My dad came here from Egypt and started working, so he didn’t get married until he was in his early 30s, which was a bit older for our culture. So I think my parents are like, “Oh, he still has time.” The pressure in the show is much different than in my real life.
That pressure would be a lot to contend with.
RY: I will say that the pressure [to be in a relationship] from Ramy’s friends in the show, though, is real. It’s this circle of practicing Muslim guys who are like, “Bro, you got to get married,” while every other group of guys is like, “Bro, don’t get married. Look at my life. Fucking live while you can.” That’s the trope. I’m the outlier with all my dudes who are practicing Muslims. Everyone’s married, has a kid on the way, and barely scratching the surface of 30. That’s super real.
How do you feel about the way we date today?
RY: I think we’re overwhelmed by the illusion of choice. There are all these apps and this idea that there’s someone better out there. It sounds kind of corny, but I don’t think you really find someone until you understand what you want. For a while I’ve known that there are just certain things I want to achieve before I bring in that energy. I haven’t really had a long-lasting relationship because I’ve known that it’s just not my time yet. But I feel that once you switch the gear and genuinely set your life up for what you want, you get what you want. It’s very internal.
So are you focused on work rather than dating right now?
RY: Yeah, I think there’s a balance that can come, but I always think about wanting to reach a level of creative understanding with myself and my work. Then it will make more sense to add people to this equation.
And would you do so via dating apps?
RY: Sure, why not? I don’t think it’s a bad way to meet people. You can actually get a little bit of a glimpse of something—it might not be much, but you can understand how good someone is at marketing.
Between Ramy and your upcoming HBO standup special, you’re quite a busy guy. How do you unwind?
RY: It sounds crazy, but I find myself unwinding when I do standup. There’s something about the grind of production, so when I’m able to go on stage it’s really fun. I always view it as an opportunity to talk with people while I still get to be louder than them, which is my favorite thing. But also, praying five times a day, which I don’t always do, helps me on set and in the writers room. It’s really grounding and a good way to mark time and get organized.