GABE GONZÁLEZ: Welcome to We Disrupt This Broadcast, a podcast from the folks at the Peabody Awards and Good Laugh, powered by the Center for Media and Social Impact. I am Gabe González, a comedian, a writer, and on this episode, the host with the most when it comes to talking about the TV shows that are doing the work and disrupting the status quo.

Here at We Disrupt This Broadcast, we love stories that disrupt, and as Peabody puts it, stories that matter. And we’re not just talking about them. We are talking to the creatives and showrunners that are bringing these stories to life. Occasionally, we’ll even chat with the experts about why these shows are so important.

Today, we’re talking to Ramy Youssef, creator and star of the series Ramy. You may have also seen him in the film Poor Things, or watched his 2024 HBO stand up special More Feelings. As someone who cut his teeth in the world of stand up comedy, Youssef brings a carefully crafted but natural sensibility to his storytelling, channeling the confessional, the observational and the seemingly controversial with ease on screen. In the show Ramy, that comedic instinct shines as the title character navigates faith, family, and relationships to usually hilarious ends.


Voice 1: Look, I know it’s terrible, but the day the Muslim ban happened, I had a really good day. 

Voice 2: Oh, come on. 

Voice 1: Like, personally, you know, it was just like one of those days. Remember, the weather was great. I killed it at this meeting. I found a MetroCard that had $120 on it. 

Voice 2: Okay, wow. 

Voice 1: That doesn’t happen. 

Voice 2: Yeah, that sounds like a really good day.

Voice 1: It was weird, because I’m watching the news, and this guy on TV is like, “This is a terrible day for all Muslims.” I’m like, well, not all Muslims. 

GABE GONZÁLEZ: By bringing to life a uniquely candid, hilariously imperfect, and deeply human portrayal of a Muslim Arab American family living in New Jersey, Ramy helped audiences and creators alike realize that a show working to dismantle decades of harmful stereotypes can also be really damn funny when we come back, my conversation with Ramy Youssef.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Welcome back to We Disrupt This Broadcast. I’m your host, Gabe González, and I am so psyched to be interviewing some of the most notable disruptors around. Peabody Award-recognized creators and showrunners that are upending expectations and rewriting the rules when it comes to entertainment.

Today, we’re talking to Ramy Youssef, a comedian who finds inspiration in his Egyptian American and Muslim upbringing to explore topics of community, identity, and faith. And while plenty of comedians have written shows about a quarter life crisis, few have created one inspired by a crisis of faith, especially one that manages to connect with audiences, regardless of their own beliefs. Ramy finds the universal in the specific. It’s a show about finding your way when nothing makes sense, about trying to fit in when everything around you says you don’t, about realizing you might have to give your friend a handjob during a road trip to Atlantic City.

And we’ll get to that, but before I get ahead of myself, I should welcome our guest–A gifted writer, actor, and one of my favorite stand-ups to see live in Brooklyn. Ramy, welcome to the show.

RAMY YOUSSEF: Thanks, Gabe. Appreciate it.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Oh, happy to have you. Let’s get right into it. So your show Ramy has been on for three seasons and is the first Muslim sitcom on U.S. television. And I think a lot of times we see audiences or critics kind of get caught up in these representation milestones. And maybe expect first-of-their-kind characters to be like, unimpeachably good or moral. But you have described Ramy as, quote, “the biggest asshole.” So, I’m curious, why did you find it important to make Ramy just a little bit of a fuck up?

RAMY YOUSSEF: I care about faith journeys. I think they’re really important, and I think they’re really unique for everybody. And, at the same time, I kind of never really wanted to make something that was a “How to be Muslim” or something like that because I was like, wait, I have no authority to do that.

And so I kind of, from the beginning, was pretty clear on making something that was somebody who had really lost their way that was not going to be exemplary in any way. You know, don’t be like him, but there’s something in him that maybe is in a lot of people.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: So I want to get a little more into this character and sort of where he and you are different but maybe the same. Both you and the character Ramy are part of a diaspora, which is the experience of a lot of first generation Americans, I think. You know, you’re born and raised in a place that maybe wasn’t the home of your parents or grandparents. This was also kind of a big part of my life growing up as a person and my family born outside of Puerto Rico for the first time. You know, like, my home life or maybe my native language didn’t always reflect those of my friends.

But I’d go back home and visit family and kind of feel inauthentic, for lack of a better word. So on Ramy, we see your character struggle with sort of performing identity or faith, particularly in front of older relatives or elders in his community, or even relatives from Egypt. How much of this kind of performance that the character does is rooted in that disconnection, that diasporic identity?

RAMY YOUSSEF: You know, I always think of this thing with my dad where he, uh, he’d drop me off to school or I’d be with my friends at school and he’d say, “Hey, I know you’re really close to a lot of them, I think that’s beautiful, and, you know, I’m glad you have really good friends. I just want you to know, you’re a little different, you know, cause you’re Muslim, and we have different values.” And I’d say, “Okay.”

And then he’d take us to Sunday School, which was at the mosque, where we’d go learn about religion. And he’d say, you know, “Look, there’s a lot to get out of religion, but I just want you to know when you go in there, don’t listen to everything they say. We’re not like them. You know, some of them in there are a little bit crazy.”

I’m like, okay, so who are we like? You know, like, if I’m not, I’m not like the people at the school, I’m not like the people at the mosque. And then I realized, you know, as I grew older, there was a part of me that felt a little bit, you know, always torn, but I realized that my father was really trying to protect an individuality for just our family.

I think he wanted to feel like we had the choice to go in whatever direction that we wanted, but that we still had, you know, the backbone of where we came from. But he didn’t want us to be replicating, you know, some sort of impersonation of where we came from, because I do think that a lot of Immigrant communities do that, right?

So it’s like, let’s come to New Jersey and recreate Egypt, or recreate Puerto Rico, or recreate where we came from. And I’m sure you’ve been in those circles where, you know, there’s almost this disembodiment from where you physically are, and you kind of have to look at someone and say, “Dude, we’re not in Cairo, actually.”

GABE GONZÁLEZ: A lot of people joke, they’re probably more Puerto Ricans in New York than in Puerto Rico. So at this point it’s kind of just collapsing in on itself.

RAMY YOUSSEF: Well, because it’s also that thing too, where it’s like, you know, our parents, a lot came in the ‘80s, right? You realize what they’re replicating is Egypt in the 80s. It’s not even Egypt now.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Totally. I, yeah, I think the breadth of that experience throughout generations is so well represented on the show. And I do want to talk about the characters you and the actors on Ramy have created because it really does feel like an ensemble comedy as the series progresses. And one place I’d like to start is talking about the women on the show. So throughout the first half of season one, I think we see women kind of refracted through Ramy’s perspective up until we get to episodes six and seven, which focus on Dena, Ramy’s sister and Ramy’s mom, Maysa. One of those episodes was written by Bridget Bedard. Both were directed by Cherien Dabis.


Voice 1: Uh, okay. I’m going to Fatma’s tonight. 

Voice 2: Again, Dena? This is the second time this week. 

Voice 1: I’m 25 years old. Why is there a limit? Does anyone even care where Ramy goes? You guys never ask him where he is. 

Voice 3: He just told me he’s going out. 

Voice 4: Yeah, that’s what I just said. 

Voice 1: He literally gave you no information. 

Voice 4: Yeah, I’m gonna go. Love you, Mom. 

Voice 3: Love you, Habibi. What time are you coming back? 

Voice 4: I don’t know. 

Voice 3: Okay. 

Voice 1: I’m leaving.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: I’m curious, what was it like figuring out how and when to explore this shift in perspective to center some of the women in this ensemble?

RAMY YOUSSEF: It was actually a fight with the network at first because basically, you know, it’s like a titular show from this guy. And I think also from the network’s perspective, they’re like, “Hey, we’re trying to tell the world who you are. No one knows who you are, and now you are taking yourself out of three episodes.” ‘Cause you know, we have a flashback episode, and then we have these two episodes that center around the sister and the mom. And I felt, well yeah, I just don’t want to see the show only through Ramy’s perspective. And then they say, “But the show is called Ramy,” and I say, “Yeah, but there’s all these really interesting people there.” In the episode with Dena, we had a lot of really fun conversations in the room about, you’re in your 20s, but you’re still kind of infantilized because you’re in this, you know, family circle and what does that look like?

And then with Maysa’s character, it was like her wanting to feel like she has something for herself. And so I had been picked up by a Lyft driver who reminded me of my mom and that’s where that came from. I said, wow, this woman’s kind of doesn’t want to be at home. And I didn’t really know her circumstances. Maybe she needed the money, but it also kind of felt like she needed the hang. And I think that that ended up being, you know, something that was a really cool part of that episode and continues throughout the show.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: And I should say, another member of the ensemble that fascinated me is Maysa’s brother, Uncle Nassim, played by the incredible Laith Nakli. In so many ways, it’s such a problematic but amazing character to be able to play. And I remember I was watching the show with my boyfriend. And during the steam room scene, I could feel both of us leaning forward on the couch, and when what happened happened, we both like, no joke, we both screamed. And my boyfriend went, “I knew it!” And of course I am referencing the fact that Uncle Nassim is attracted to men and it is revealed to us in an intimate steam room scene with another man present. 

I’m curious, how did you envision the character of Uncle Nassim at first, and did he evolve or change from what you expected as the series went on?

RAMY YOUSSEF: I think I knew at the end of season one. There’s something fun to me about not knowing where the story is going, but then also feeling like, oh wait, of course it went that way. And I think that’s why it’s so funny and satisfying. And, you know, I think putting anything too profound to the side, it just felt like the funniest thing to me. You know, I was just like, this guy…

GABE GONZÁLEZ: yeah, right

RAMY YOUSSEF: …who carries himself, you know, so masc, and he’s so intense, and, of course he is. He has this armor, and underneath is something that he, yeah, has not really spoken about. And so it felt exciting and fun. And I think he carries who he is in a way that I think is very interesting. And I think we had a lot of conversations about this in the room of would he call himself gay. And know, there’s just so many schools of thought of people who are like, like him, and we actually had a writer in our room who’s gay, and he, Azam Mahmood, who’s a great writer, and he said something really funny where, and I think I’m quoting him pretty directly. I think he’d stand by this, but he said he felt like Uncle Nassim was the future of gay people, like, in the sense that he does not need to call himself that. We kept saying like, you’re not who you have sex with, you’re you. You know, so it’s like, just skip all that. That’s just a thing you do, and then you are who you are. It was really kind of cool that the character would carry it that way. He doesn’t do it confidently, but that he would grow into that was very, those were really fun conversations.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Yeah no, I know who Uncle Nassim is, right. Like, I grew up in Florida, I know men like that. I got you, like, it was just such a moment of recognition, and I was like, whoa. I think on that note, there’s a really cool cross section of identities and lived experiences in the world surrounding Ramy that feels honest and it feels very lived in, you know, people aren’t these cut and dry stereotypes. And I think one character that comes to mind when thinking about that is Steve played by your real life friend, Steve Way. And the way disability is represented through his character, but not like the singular defining characteristic he has on this show, right?

To me, his character is the perfect balance of like prickly and lovingly supportive. I’m curious, what’s it like collaborating with a childhood friend and also creating a character based on him, and what was it like kind of writing and working with him like to build TV Steve?

RAMY YOUSSEF: Yeah, I mean, it was really fun. We obviously talked about all those storylines together. And so it was one of those where, from outline phase, Steve is seeing it and giving feedback and giving his thumbs up. And I think the first pilot I ever wrote was with Steve and our buddy Jonathan Braylock. And we wrote a show centered around Steve, but it was kind of around the friendship of the three of us. And that’s still something that we’ve tried to get made. 

You know, if you told me we had to make more of something that I was in or figure out a show around disability, you know, I’m gonna kind of gun towards doing that with Steve because I think it’s gonna be kind of amazing. But yeah, we kind of just work on everything together because his stand up is really good. Especially because you know stand-up is a grind or that you gotta get up every night and find it. Steve is not able to do that I mean, there’s so few clubs that are even wheelchair accessible just because of New York City architecture. 

So, he’s kind of a phenom in that in such little stage time, he’s built up an hour that is one of the funniest hours I’ve ever seen. And so, he’s just, he’s the real deal. I mean, I’m really excited for him and I think it’s just the beginning for him. When I think about my relationship with Steve it’s exciting how much we’ve been through, and then it becomes even more fun to think about what could be next.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: No, definitely. I mean to me I think he’s sort of one of the centers of this show. We don’t see a lot of leads or even supporting characters in comedies who are representing people living with disabilities. It’s really great that Steve is this character that brings something so personal and like, raw and a little rough around the edges. 

And then there’s also that level of representation, right? like, I don’t want to make a show that’s a how to on how to be Muslim. I don’t think, you know, no one character can be reduced to what they represent, right? It’s like, oh, you’re doing this for this community.

Well, yeah, you represent an aspect of that. But I think what Steve brings to the show is just like, it feels like the kids that I grew up with. It’s like really, you just really make that connection. He’s amazing. 

I also want to go back to like the inception of Ramy here really quickly. I have to admit, our very enterprising and investigative producers found your pitch for Ramy.

RAMY YOUSSEF: The doc, like the pitch doc?

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Like the pitch doc. But there was a quote in there that we all kind of fell in love with that I think gets to the heart of the show. In the pitch you wrote, “I believe in God. Not yoga, but God God. That feels like the edgiest thing I can say in LA or as a millennial. Believing in God feels like rebellion. It’s the new getting a stupid tattoo.”


GABE GONZÁLEZ: When did you realize that this theme, pursuing faith in a generation characterized by like vague spirituality, was the stupid tattoo of the moment?

RAMY YOUSSEF: Um, so that joke kind of unlocked everything for me. I wanted to make something, and at the time I thought it was a movie, but what was really clear to me was that I wanted something that reflected my faith relationship, you know, that I was aspirationally wanting to expand and do something spiritual.

And so I was doing stand up once during Ramadan. And I’d been thinking about this thought, I’d been talking about it with friends, I’d been going on walks and talking about this desire. And then I think at some point later that year, it was Ramadan, and I was doing a show in a bar right after I’d broken my fast, but it was like, the timing was like, I just literally had a glass of water, and then I got up on stage, and I said, you know, “I was fasting Ramadan,” and everyone was just kind of, leaned in?

You know, just, what? You know, and then I said, “No, and I like fasting. It’s not like my family makes me do it. I don’t pretend to do it. I do it. Like, I believe in God. Like, God, God, not yoga.” And then it was just like a pop, you know. There was this thing of just like, whoa, I can’t believe you said that. But then there was a laugh and then people were just like, where is this guy going with it?

And I kind of got off the stage that day and I was driving home and, and I kind of said, oh, I think I just found something. And then that ended up being my first joke that I did on Colbert, when I did my first late night appearance, and then yeah, I kind of cracked open what ended up becoming the world of the show.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: I do want to talk a little bit about this faith journey, too. Over the three seasons of Ramy that we’ve seen, Ramy’s journey, it seems, takes him kind of farther and farther away from that connection to faith that he seeks.

Something that feels pure and honest and true, right? And I’m curious, why does Ramy need this distance before he can really give into belief the way he does at the end of the third season, which kind of felt like a sort of rebirth for the character?

RAMY YOUSSEF: I’ve always felt, you know, man, do I really need to learn things the hard way in order to kind of find what I probably knew in the beginning was true? And I think it’s a very human sensation to take everything apart and then put it back together again.

And I think that this character definitely strips himself down, and it’s almost like he, he tries everything that he was holding back from. He tries it all kind of at like a level 10 only to realize like, yeah, I don’t, I’m not finding anything here. And I want to return to, to love, ultimately. Because I think that what we kind of see at the end of the third season, to me, is an act of love and they’re kind of giving in and surrendering. And the concept of surrender is, you know, in the bedrock of Islam.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: There are several really incredible episodes in season three set in Israel and Palestine, which you’ve mentioned posed a lot of challenges logistically. Since filming in Palestine after the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was impossible. One storyline that stuck out to me was Ramy crossing a border checkpoint to hook up with someone he found on a dating app, which, wild premise, but it’s interesting because the character approaches this with kind of an American cluelessness and a sense of entitlement that gets confronted by his would-be date. How did you navigate using the character of Ramy as an avatar to explore the Israeli occupation in Palestine?

RAMY YOUSSEF: I had this experience where I was hanging out with a girl and I did cross a checkpoint. And then I realized that I left my passport in the cab. 

GABE GONZÁLEZ: This really happened?

RAMY YOUSSEF: Yeah that happened. So I had lost my passport, I had left it, and I realized how quick I was, you know, I’d been in Palestine, I was speaking Arabic, I’m talking whatever, and I realized how quick I went from trying to only speak Arabic and blend in to talking to, you know, a bunch of people like, “Hey, I’m from America.”

Like, really just hitting the, you know, “I’m Egyptian. I’m from America.” I don’t, you know. And I was like, man, that is such privilege. What privilege. And so I think we went into the episode, I think the initial premise was how can both the Israelis and Palestinians hate Ramy? Like, that’d be a very fun, fun challenge to pull off. But also really highlighting, American privilege and then even that you can be Arab and Muslim and have American privilege to the Middle East, and quite specifically to Palestine.


Voice 1: Hey… hey, man, do you know how long this is gonna take? I… I just… I gotta meet somebody. I want to tell her when I’ll be there, just, like, an estimate. Do you have a line for people with American passports?

RAMY YOUSSEF: It really was a manifestation of this consistent guilt that I think I have always felt of, oh, I get to live my life here a certain way, and that does have this ripple effect on people who I care about, but I’m not near. And what does that relationship mean? You know, and there isn’t really a reconciliation in the season in terms of what that means, but I think it is kind of this awkward and painful and loud gap of reality, of living here and not living there. And that’s always been on my mind.

You know, I found Palestinians to be just, obviously some of the most resilient spiritually beautiful people. And so making the episode with them was great because I think they were really floored that we were able to do it. And that’s where I was very thankful to the network and everyone involved for just letting us make it.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, that’s amazing too, right, to hear from that pushback that even the episode centered on Maysa and Dena were kind of controversial by the time you get to the end of season three you’re like, hey, we’re going to Palestine and they’re like dope. We trust you.

RAMY YOUSSEF: Yeah, yeah.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: That’s an amazing amount of trust. I love that. Alright, so we’re going to wrap it up. Thank you for getting up so early. You all need to know that Peabody got two stand up comedians to wake up at 9:30am to record this and we had a blast, but before I let you go, Ramy, is there any advice you’d like to leave your fellow creatives, comedians, or artists with?

RAMY YOUSSEF: Just make stuff about what you really care about. And then, you know, the world will kind of catch up. I just always think that the artist’s inkling, you know, that subconscious inkling ends up becoming the conscious reality. And I’ve felt the same sensation lately where a lot of those jokes I wrote years ago that takes place in Palestine and now we see what’s happening to the people of Gaza. And it could seem like I’m being reactive to what’s happening, but it’s like no no, this has been on my mind. It’s been in my heart for many years. And so You know, I think that’s why it’s really important to write from that place because it’ll always catch up and we kind of always have a little bit of a barometer of what’s kind of bubbling underneath. 

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Amazing. Well, thank you so much, Ramy. we’ll be excited to have you back on when we do. but thanks for getting up early and joining us. I really appreciate it.

RAMY YOUSSEF: Thanks, Gabe. Appreciate it.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: That was Ramy Youssef, creator and star of the show, Ramy. I’ve gotta say, I’m so struck by how deeply connected the show is to his lived experiences, to his stand up, to his crowd work sometimes. Especially the ways, though, in which his relationships with his own faith and family have influenced what we see on screen.

Coming up after the break, we’re hanging out with Arij Mikati, Managing Director of Culture Change at Pillars Fund, and a consultant on Ramy to talk about how Muslim women have been depicted on TV, and playing offense when it comes to combating stereotypes. We’ll be right back.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Hey everyone. Welcome back to We Disrupt This Broadcast. Today, we are talking to Arij Mikati, managing director of culture change at Pillars Fund and a consultant on Ramy to dig into the importance of showing an array of flawed, funny, and multidimensional Muslim American characters on screen. Arij, welcome to the show.

ARIJ MIKATI:I’m really honored to be here in conversation with you.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: I’m curious, you worked as a consultant on the series as we talked about, and you know Ramy personally. So when you first heard about the show, what was something that you were particularly excited to kind of help build with this series?

ARIJ MIKATI: I was just so excited because I knew that Ramy was very interested in exploring very deeply the characters that surrounded him, even though the show is titled after him. And I thought that that was going to give a pretty remarkable perspective in terms of the post 9-11 immigrant story, in a way that was unexpected, right?

And for me, an experience that I had post 9-11 that I think is pretty common is it actually made me realize that I was totally defining myself to people outside of my community as a defensive mode. Everything was about, I am not what you’ve seen on television. I am not the thing that you read in the news. I am not this. I am not that. My dad doesn’t oppress me. He celebrates me. My mom doesn’t make me wear hijab. She wants it to be my choice. Like all of these things that I had to clarify for people. And it was only until sort of, I had a coming of age later in high school where I realized I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to play offense. I want to tell you what I am because the things that I am are so much more exciting than things that I’m not. And what I saw in the seed of that very first pitch from Ramy was this is an opportunity to play offense. And I was deeply excited about that.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Yeah that’s such a great way to put it, right? I mean, the opportunity to shape the narrative preemptively rather than waiting to respond to questions that often come out of ignorance or misinformation. The show does feature his sister Dena and his mother Maysa taking center stage in so many episodes. How does their journey break from the narratives around women and Islam we see in mainstream U.S. television?

ARIJ MIKATI: It’s such a good question, and one that I so deeply appreciate because we did this research pretty recently with, USC Annenberg inclusion initiative that was called Missing and Maligned. And we did a second piece that was called Erased and Extremists about film and television respectively, and how Muslims show up in film and television.

And first of all, what we found was that women completely are underrepresented in terms of the Muslim characters that show up on screen. We see far, far less. I’m talking in the teens in terms of the percentage. And the second thing that we noticed is that most women are really put in the position of being in service to a man, in terms of how they show up on screen. So that means that they are either somebody’s wife or mother or sister, and they’re not really explored in any kind of lead way. And so even just the act of giving Maysa and Dina these opportunities to shine as leads is already breaking from the norm of how we see them on television.

So that’s first and foremost. I think the second piece is Dena is also really allowed to be flawed. She’s a wonderful character who’s brilliant. She’s pursuing her dreams. She’s pursuing law and she’s definitely dealing with a lot of the expectations on her from her parents that are, you know, not aligned with the life that she sees for herself. But she allows herself to move away from the faith to explore and then come back.

And I think what we often see is this story of celebrating a woman in Islam moving away from the faith as a liberation moment. And it’s very painful, I think, for a lot of Muslims to see like, Oh, like the happy ending is you taking off your hijab, or the happy ending is you deciding you’re never going to talk to your family again, or the happy ending is this and that.

And it was really beautiful for us to see her in season three kind of come back and say like, No, like, this is important to me in a partner. I want to share my faith with my partner. It ends up that I want this, and I got to go away and choose that for myself and come back and that’s liberatory to me.

And so I think it goes back to this idea that people across the world are always trying to police Muslim women in what we wear, how we think, what we choose to do with our lives. And from my perspective, I think what is most important is that I get to choose what I do regardless of what the direction is, my body, my choice, regardless of what the direction is.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Absolutely, and it still feels so relevant today, too. I mean, we even see supposedly secular countries banning things like hijabs in public schools. Like this happened in France, right? They also banned the abaya more recently in 2023. In claiming to protect women’s autonomy, they are, in fact, policing what women can wear. And it’s wild that…

ARIJ MIKATI: That’s exactly right.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: …that element of this conversation is still so relevant today. Arij, thank you so much for joining us today. Where can folks find you or learn more about Pillars Fund?

ARIJ MIKATI: We’re at We have all of our research up for free, if you’re interested in looking at any of the numbers or data from the research that I mentioned earlier. And you can find me @ArijMikati everywhere, except Twitter because I love myself.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Ah, I wish I loved myself as much. I’m slowly prying myself away. It’s the one vice I haven’t let go of.

ARIJ MIKATI: You can do it. I’ve never looked back.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

ARIJ MIKATI: My pleasure.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: While I won’t be tweeting at Arij anytime soon, I am so, so thankful she and Ramy could join us today. I think Arij offered us such a great perspective on how Muslim communities, particularly Muslim women, have been depicted in U. S. media, and got to dig into how audiences and real world communities were impacted by Ramy, while offering a bit of insight into working on the show itself.

Her work at Pillars Fund really felt like the perfect lens through which to explore how Ramy shifted depictions of Muslim characters on TV from defense to offense, actively dismantling stereotypes head on rather than waiting to correct them. And Ramy really covered so much with us. I was so drawn to his thoughts on the generative potential of stand up, right?

I think it’s not something we often associate with stand up comedy, and seeing how that contributed to this story was really enlightening, especially at this point in his career. And I don’t think I’d thought of it this way before, but hearing him explain the risks and rewards of writing a comedy centered on faith, especially as a young person exploring faith, made it feel like a very radical act given what we see on TV.

Most of all, I think he offered some incredible insight into how Ramy as a series has evolved throughout each season, touching on stories we usually see flattened or outright ignored on other scripted programming. 

Fun fact, the Peabody Awards are decided unanimously, so to close out our episode, I bring you We Disrupt This Broadcast‘s unanimous decision, where we unanimously pick the most disruptive line of the day.

RAMY YOUSSEF: Dude, we’re not in Cairo, actually.

GABE GONZÁLEZ: Next time on We Disrupt This Broadcast, the Peabody Award winning creator of Black Mirror, as well as all my worst nightmares, Charlie Brooker joins us.

CHARLIE BROOKER: We’re getting closer to the point where technology is this magical. It just felt like interesting ground. And as soon as you start doing it, then you realize there’s all these slightly eerie experiences that I couldn’t necessarily put to words that you could now express through this show. 

GABE GONZÁLEZ: We Disrupt This Broadcast is a Peabody and Center for Media and Social Impact production, hosted by me, Gabe González, with on air contributions from Caty Borum, Jeffrey Jones, and Joyelle Nicole Johnson. This show is brought to you by executive producers, Caty Borum, Jeffrey Jones, and Bethany Hall. Producer, Jordana Jason. Writers, Sasha Stewart, Jordana Jason, Bethany Hall, Jennifer Keishin-Armstrong, and myself, Gabe González. Consulting producer: Jennifer Keishin-Armstrong. Associate producer: Bella Green. Graphic designer: Olivia Klaus. Operations producer: Varsha Ramani. The marketing and communications team: Christine Drayer and Tunisia Singleton. From PRX, the team is: Terrence Bernardo, Jennie Cataldo, Morgan Church, Edwin Ochoa, and Amber Walker. The executive producer of PRX Productions is Jocelyn Gonzales.