Review: Ramy Youssef, “Feelings” on HBO

If you haven’t yet watched comedian Ramy Youssef’s semi-autobiographical series on Hulu, Ramy, then now is a perfect time to binge it.

Even if you haven’t, though, you’ll get a taste of what’s to come in Ramy by seeing Youssef’s debut stand-up comedy special on HBO, Feelings.

That he taped this hour in Chicago might not be entirely coincidental. Youssef’s points hit home time and again with infamous Windy City personalities, from Jussie Smollett, to R. Kelly, to former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. He ponders nearby Midwesterners such as Michael Jackson and LeBron James, too, exploring how the cult of personality surrounding superstars affects our judgment when they enter our daily orbit.

And he jokes about America’s awkwardness around sex affects our attitudes toward each other, and how he’s trying to do his part to be less of a creep since #MeToo. He finds himself out of touch with his peers (quite literally here) when he jokes about the importance of wearing condoms to avoid the consequences of unprotected sex, and when he suggests that contemplating an abortion might motivate the fetus to become a better, more influential human. But he gets the audience back when he points to actual examples. Then makes an even stronger point when he turns a stereotypical question about Muslim fashion traditions back onto the culture that usually asks him about it.

Read my full review in Decider.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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