RAMY YOUSSEF: FEELINGS (2019) – FULL TRANSCRIPT

A young Egyptian-American stand up comedian tackles universal predicaments such as sex with the latest pop culture references and from the specific vantage point of a Muslim millenial.
Ramy Youssef: Feelings (2019)

Welcome to the meeting. Are you Mohammed? No, ’cause this dude texted me, and he was like, “Yo, can I…” He hit me up. He was like, “Oh, can I get a ticket to your show?” And I didn’t have his number saved. And I was like, “Just tell me your name. I’ll put you on the list.” And he just wrote back, “Mohammed,” and… And I was like, “Yeah, man. I’m sure it’ll be there when you get here, yeah.” “Yeah, I’ll put it on the list. Yeah, yeah, yeah. “Just Mohammed plus one. “There’s no way anyone else takes it… …before you come.” So I hope you’re here.

I… I’ve been thinking a lot about how we know what we know and how that affects the way we treat each other. And I feel like, as a Muslim, so much of my life has been defined by all these things that I have no control over. Which is why I don’t believe anything that I see in the news. I can’t really believe the police, can’t believe institutions. All that being said… Jussie Smollett was definitely lying. Like, he fucking lied. Like, he’s… That shit did not happen. And if you don’t know what happened with Jussie, just a little refresher: in an era where hate crimes are happening all the time, it seems like he made one up. He said he was beat up by two Trumps… …but it turned out to be two Obamas. Big plot twist.

And… I feel bad for him. I don’t know if anybody else does, but I feel bad for this dude. Like, I think about the facts of his life. He’s black in America. On top of that, he’s gay. On top of that, he’s on Empire. It’s a terrible show. I mean it’s like… and if you know anything about show business, those contracts, that’s… that’s slavery, and… He… I think he got in his head. You know, I think we create our own realities, and I think that violence happening to someone like him is a very real thing. And he convinced himself, one day, this shit is gonna happen to me. So he was like, you know, “Let me just… get ahead of it.” You know what I mean? Like, you ever been in a relationship, and you’re like, “Aw, man, she’s gonna break up with me. I gotta do it first.” Right? I think what he did was… You know, I mean, it was nothing like that, but he… I got nothing. I can’t defend him. I really can’t. I just… I wish he had made it about something bigger than himself. I think that’s why you get into a situation like this. You’re just in your head, you’re only thinking about yourself. But he had the whole world looking at him. I wish people would just do something with that moment. Like, if I were him, I would’ve made it seem like it was my plan the whole time. Like, the second I got caught, I would’ve called a press conference and been like, “Okay. Now that I have your attention…” “The icecaps are melting.” “This isn’t even Chicago. It’s stolen Navajo land. Like, are we gonna talk about the crimes of this country?” Instead, he was like, “I want more money on Empire.” And it…

I think… it doesn’t matter if he was lying or not. I just think we’re being really hard on him. ‘Cause there’s something about what he did that I could see doing. There’s just this small thing, because we all lie. We’re all afraid to be who we actually are, and we tell these little lies every day to just get by. And there’s something about the seed of what he did that I’m like, yeah, it’s not crazy. It’s not like he’s a serial killer or something. He just did the thing we all do. And we love seeing liars get caught. It’s why there’s two documentaries about Fyre Fest. Like, we… are obsessed. ‘Cause we’ve all had our own Fyre Fest. We’ve all told somebody this weekend is going to be amazing. And all we had was a shitty cheese plate. So we are all Jussie Smollett. Je suis Smollett. That’s how it’s pronounced.

I’m not gonna let them do this, man. They put up his mugshot next to R. Kelly‘s, and they were like, “We got him!” Like it’s the same thing. That R. Kelly shit was horrifying. I watched it, watched the documentary. The women were crying, I was crying. And then they were like, “At this point, he recorded ‘Ignition.'” And then they played “Ignition,” and I was like, “Fuck, that song is so good!” Like, it’s so good! Like, the beat is so good. The second I heard the beat, I was like, “Are we gonna hear his side of things? Like, he…” “Really? He doesn’t get to talk?” And I know he did it. It’s just that distrust, man. ‘Cause I’m just so used to seeing stories get spun. You see it all the time. Some random crime will happen, a day later they’ll be like, “And he recently converted to Islam.” They’ll just, like, throw it in there.

That’s why I had to watch the whole R. Kelly doc. You know? I was just waiting for them to find the Quran. It’s like I know it’s gonna happen. Episode six, you’re gonna go in the booth. You think he’s singing a song, but he’s like, “Allahu Akbar.” And you’re like, “Oh my God.” That would be devastating to the Muslim community. R. Kelly doing the call to prayer? ‘Cause it would be the most beautiful call to prayer… …that we’d ever heard. He made people believe they could fly. Like, he would… …make you believe in Islam, like, without a doubt. Without a doubt.

It’s the music. It makes you forget. Music can do crazy shit. It’s how Michael got away with it. I got so mad at the moms in the Michael Jackson thing, ’cause they know their kid is sleeping next to Michael Jackson. Like a baseline fact. Like, Arabs would never let that shit happen. We’d be like, “We don’t even let sleepovers happen between kids,” like… “Not allowed.” These parents knew. And I got so mad, but then I realized, okay, I don’t know the Michael Jackson that they knew. Like, I’m younger, I only know white Michael. Right? Like, the Michael I grew up with, it’s like, “No, we’re not hanging out.” “I don’t know what you are, I don’t know what’s happening. Audio only.” “I can’t deal with that.” But they grew up with the most famous person on Earth. There’s so much power in that. I gotta think about that. I’m like, man, what if the most famous person to me wanted to hang out with my kid? Could I say no? Like, would I let my son sleep next to LeBron James? I don’t know. If LeBron was like, “Nah, man, we’re just… dribbling and… and…” “I’m teaching him how to shoot, “and, you know, there’s a little bed by the court. “And sometimes we just crash out. “And when he sleeps next to me, I feel like I could beat the Warriors.” That would hit me hard. That would hit me hard because I’d just be like, “Fuck, I… I hate the Warriors.” “That super-team was so unfair. Like, you really think you could beat them?” And LeBron would be like, “I know I could… if he’s by my side.” I’d be like, “Oh, man…” “All right, get in there, Omar.” Like… Like, just to make the league more fair, like, I would just… I would have to. I would have to.

Now it looks really weird. Like, Neverland Ranch? What? He built a theme park? How did they not see it? But at the time those moms were just like, “Oh shit, no lines.” Do you have any idea how hard it is to be a mom? You’re like, “All right, one thing could be easier.” It doesn’t seem weird when it’s happening. Like, LeBron just built a school for kids in Ohio. It’s called I Promise. And we’re all like, “Wow, that’s amazing!” But within a couple years… we’re all gonna be like, “Fuck. What did he make those kids promise?” No, I think LeBron’s a good dude, but… also, you heard it here first, and…

I don’t know what I would do with my son, I really don’t. ‘Cause I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about sex at all. Like, there’s Muslims here. Do you guys talk about sex with your family? – No. – No. Whoa, yeah, right? Still haven’t. I know. We had a sex talk. I say “we” because my sister and I had it at the same exact time. Like my dad just wanted to get it out of the way. Like, really quick. Just sat us down. He was just like, “Girls, no boys. Boys, no boys.”… Like, that’s the talk. There’s no, like, “This is what you do. This is how you meet somebody.” Nothing, nothing. I was so confused.

But I’m starting to feel like we’re all really confused about sex. Like, as a country, I don’t think we really know what it is. Right? You can see it. Like, these stories happen, no one has any idea how to react. Something will happen, it hits the news, Half the country is like, “That’s assault.” The other half is like, “That’s how we met. Fuck.” “Fuck, you can’t do that? We told the kids that. That’s our story.” And then a bunch of dudes are like, “Can we even hug anymore?” And it’s like, “Well, not you.” “No, you’re on a list.” Like, I don’t know where hugs came from, from that.

I, personally, I believe all the women, all the women who’ve come forward who say that something happened. I don’t think they have any reason to lie. They don’t get famous, I don’t know any of their names. The other reason I believe them is men. Like, we’re not good. We’re really not. Like, maybe some of us were raised a little better, or maybe some of us are just busier, but… Like, on a baseline level, we’re not good. We can sexualize any situation, any situation. I realized this when the Weinstein stuff first happened. I was talking to a friend of mine. She was like, “All this non-consensual stuff, “it’s been going on for so long, but at least, now, everybody’s talking about it.” And I was like, “Yeah, we gotta talk about it. “Let’s talk about it. Do you wanna, like…” “I don’t know, come over later and maybe we could talk about it? “You know, because I don’t know, “I feel like if we have consensual sex, that’s how we fight back.” “Because change happens on a local level, and like that’s…” “Like, if we fuck, Trump gets mad, and…”

It’s… it’s disgusting. It’s disgusting, we never stop. Like, none of the details of it… Like, people were like, “Oh, how could Harvey jerk off into a plant?” And every dude is like, “Well, what kind of plant?” I mean, it’s… If it’s not one of the spiky ones, like, I…

Maybe. I’m trying to stop all the creepy behavior, all the little things, even things that don’t seem weird. Like, I’m not liking any women’s posts online after 10 p.m. That’s aggressive. No, really, like you’re liking a woman’s photo at three in the morning. It’s not about the photo. It’s about something else. It’s not right. You’re not suddenly into her trip to Mexico. Like, I don’t… I’m not part of it anymore, seriously. Like, if I see something I like late at night, I do the right thing. I save the link, I go back in the morning. All right, 10 a.m., that’s a real like. That’s just like, “Hey, this is good content. Thank you.” “Keep posting.” It’s the energy I wanna put out there, you know?

Sometimes I, I just… wish I’d never had sex. Anyone ever feel like that? Like… I didn’t, I didn’t think I was gonna have sex until I got married. That was… that was my plan. I think about my life before I did, I was so happy. I was so happy. Like, I… I loved everything, I loved every movie. If there was a movie on, I was just like, “Look at that, they did it.” Just, like, happy for the production. Then I had sex, and I was just like, “Aw, man, the fucking cinematographer sucks.” “The plot made no sense.” Like, once you have sex, you care about plot, and it’s so… All of a sudden you, like, hate Christopher Nolan, and it’s like, no… you hate yourself. ‘Cause you know everything’s so complicated.

And I wanted to wait, I really did. Because, look, I believe in God. Like, God God. And I know how weird it sounds because it’s such a crazy thing. It sounds nuts because you say, “I believe in God,” and then there’s like, “Well, and here’s who I hate.” There’s always this, like, list that it comes with. The statement means a lot. It’s loaded. It’s like, we all live in America, but you ever hear the person who’s like, “I love America”? Then you’re like, “Oh fuck.” He has a gun. I think he says the ‘N’ word, definitely in traffic. There’s no way this dude doesn’t.

That’s how I feel like when I say it, because I know it’s crazy. Because it’s always like, well, this is what I think, but this whole thing that it comes with that I’m not part of. And I get it, you know, and I don’t feel like it has to come with this whole list of negative shit. It’s not like, okay, I believe in God, that means we have to hate gay people. I’ve always accepted gay people. I remember the moment that I really understood them. Like, I knew what they were going through, I knew how they felt. I’ll never forget this. I was… I was watching this porn, and… …and, look, it wasn’t one of those nasty porns where they’re like, “Get in the van,” or whatever, like… No, seriously, like, it was super organic. Like, I think they’re in love. I really… I only watch if I think they’re in love, because I believe in God, and I would… Seriously, I… And I’ll never forget this. I’m watching this porn, and everything is going great. Woman takes off her clothes, she looks awesome. She goes over to the dude, she pulls down his pants. The second I saw this dude’s dick, I clicked out of the video, ’cause it was too weird. And in that moment it hit me. I was like, “Oh, shit. There’s a type of dick I don’t like.” Yeah, that means there’s a type of dick I do like. Like, I didn’t even think I liked dick. The second I saw this dude’s dick I was like, “What the fuck is this shit?” “Where’s the one I’m used to,” you know? You’re like, all of a sudden, I was getting picky?

So yeah, there’s a group of people who have a stronger opinion. Can’t stop anyone’s preference. Because we all have our things that we bring to it, you know? Like, I have my stuff with… Like, I… Man, sex, it’s an intimate thing. And I’ve never had sex without a condom. Like, I just… I can’t do it. It’s too much. – Anybody else? – Woo! Really? Is everyone just raw-dogging it all the time? You guys aren’t worried about, like, kids, STDs? Like, I don’t even know which is worse. It’s so… That skin to skin is so much responsibility, seriously. Like, I slipped in once without a condom for a second. It felt so good, but… the second I slipped in, I had a fucking mortgage. Like, my son needed braces. And we got him the braces. And he wore them, and they cost all this money, but then he wouldn’t wear his retainer. And I was like, “Come on, buddy. Just put the retainer on. We already did all this work.” And he was like, “No, fuck you, Dad.” “Fuck you, I’m going to LeBron’s.” Fuck.

It happens so quick. Honestly, that’s why I really think sex feels better with a condom. I really do. Like, not… Dude, I know, but not in the moment, but it feels better on Monday. You know, Monday when you’re just walking around with, like, no kids, no STDs. You’re just raw-dogging life. Like, everything feels good. You’re like, “Oh, how could I have a kid? I was wearing a condom. I couldn’t even cum.” Like, there’s no… Scientifically, it’s not possible. That’s… that’s how condoms work. You just give up.

I think about the consequences that I don’t have to face. Right? Because let’s say you’re having sex with somebody and someone gets pregnant. It’s usually the woman. For now, right? Like, that’s… She’s gotta deal with everything. Like, as a dude, I’m pro-choice, but what’s my choice? My choice is like, “Hey, I’ll be there for you,” or, “No… Ew.” Like, that’s it. Women have to deal with everything. Like crazy spiritual questions, like when does life begin? Like, fuck, I don’t even know if my life has begun. And you gotta answer that? And everyone’s so sure. It’s, like, political. One side is like, “Life starts in the womb.” The other side is like, “No, life really starts when you have your own Netflix password.” “Until then, you’re just placenta without a job, so, figure it out.”

I don’t know how anyone chooses, I really don’t. I will say, and I’ve thought about this a lot, I do think that everyone should always seriously consider having an abortion, because I feel like it motivates the fetus. I’m telling you, they can feel it in there. They’re like, “Wait, what, you don’t want me? No, but I got an idea for a tech company.” “I got, like, three apps. One of them is gonna work.” Like, they come out motivated. Like, they just know. Like, every CEO, I know some of you don’t agree with this, but every CEO, look at an interview with them. They’ll be like, “Yeah, my dad left, my mom wasn’t sure, then we got the iPhone.” They can feel that there’s just that tough love there. I wish my parents wanted me less. I really do. I would be, like, six inches taller. It’s science, it really… Look at the NBA, right? No dads. No, I’m telling you, I think those dads knew. I don’t think it’s sad. I think their wives are like, “Why are you leaving?” And they’re like, “This is the price of a championship.” “Do you want him to play in Europe? I don’t know what to tell you.”

You think LeBron goes to the finals seven years in a row if his dad loves him? No, all the greats, man. Jesus, no dad. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, no dad. Moses was in a basket, man, in the… …in the sea. He got so pissed that he parted the sea. Like, he… he had to get his revenge. That’s the energy.

You don’t need a dad, you just need a mom and a coach who believes in you. And you… Just that coach that sees you in high school, and you’ll make millions.

No, I love my dad, though. I really do. My dad is an amazing human being. He… just a hard worker. Just that thing you think about with just anyone who comes to this country, that’s my dad. Can do anything. Not just at work, comes home, he can cook, he can clean, fix the toilet, fix the car. He learned all these jobs just so he’d never have to pay another man. His nightmare would be to hand cash… …to another man and look him in the eye. And he started working as a busboy, and in ten years, he became the manager of a hotel. And that hotel was in New York City, and it was owned by Donald Trump. So I grew up with this photo in my living room of my dad and Donald Trump shaking hands. I saw it every day as a kid. And when you’re a young Arab kid, anyone who’s friends with your dad, like, that’s your uncle. And the last couple years, I’m watching TV, and I’m just like, “Uncle Donald?” “Really? Fuck.”

And I get it. I get why people voted for him. Like, I get the vote. You know, there’s like something about him. There’s just like something about the way that he is. Look, I don’t think he’s a good person, but I actually just don’t think that he’s a person. You know what I mean? Sometimes someone will be like, “How could a person do that?” Here’s the thing, I don’t think he is one. Like, Donald Trump is a… a feeling. He’s like an emotion, you know? Like, sometimes you’re happy, sometimes you’re sad, and sometimes you’re just fucking… Trump. You know that feeling? You’re in an argument with somebody, and you’re like, “Aah, I wanna win but I don’t have the facts.” “Aah, man!” Like when your phone dies at 2 p.m. Two p.m…. your $600 iPhone can’t even make it through the day, and it’s just sitting hot in your palm. And you’re just like, “You know what, man? Fuck China.” You don’t even care if the phone’s made in Japan. You’re like the whole thing, “We’re going to war.” Then you plug your phone back in, and you’re not Trump anymore.

He’s not a man, he’s a mood. And it’s crazy because people are like, “Oh, we can’t elect a woman. She could get her period.” But we elected a period. That’s… That’s what’s happening right now. That’s why men are so confused. Men are like, “What’s going on?” Women are like, “Yeah, no, we know about this. Yeah.” “This happens all the time.”

‘Cause the truth is, I think Trump is a good representative. Not that he’s good at his job, but I think he represents us. We have a sex problem, he has a sex problem. He’s racist, we’re racist. I have my racism that I’ve gotta face. For a while I thought, “No, how could I be? Hate comes my way, I’m Muslim.” But then you think about it, and you’re like, “Oh, no,” “I have really prejudiced thoughts. There are things I think that are wrong.” Like, I get really upset every time I get a white Uber driver. Devastated. Like, I look down on my phone, I see the little white face, And I’m just like, “Fuck. I’m… I’m gonna be late.” “He’s gonna stop at every stop sign. He’s gonna make me listen to his fucking band.” I’m like, “Scott, what the fuck?” Like, I get so angry. Like, I want one of my people, right? I want an Omar, I want a Mohammed. I want somebody who’s running from their country. That’s Uber. Uber’s like, “Quick, get in. “We don’t have the paperwork. We gotta go, dude. “We gotta fucking go. We don’t have time.” From the second I get in the car to when we arrive, I wanna hear somebody talk to their whole family. Like, that… That makes me feel safe. That’s like an emotional seatbelt. I’m like, “Okay, cool. He called his cousin.” “We’re gonna get there.” I don’t want someone to be like, “Dude, my Etsy.” It’s like, “Fuck.” That’s racist. It’s something.

I think the president’s probably worse… You know, the stuff that’s happening at the border, it’s almost impossible to talk about. Dreamers? You guys know about Dreamers? It’s crazy because he builds his businesses off of immigrants, off of people like my dad. Immigrants are a huge part of his life, but he won’t let them stay. He won’t make it official. And if I’m being self-reflective, I mean, I’ve been racist in a small, similar way. I date white women. They’re a huge part of my life. But I would never make it official. Like, with my Muslim parents, like…? You know what I’m talking about. Like, with my Muslim parents? Like, I was dating this girl, and she was like, “Ramy, I’d love to meet your mom.” And I was like, “Whoa, Kelly. “You’re a dreamer, this is…” “This is a temporary program. “I just don’t have the paperwork for you to meet my mom. “They probably won’t even let you on EgyptAir.”

That’s fucked up. I know it is. ‘Cause I met her mom, and her mom came to visit town. Her mom’s from Texas. Like, Texas Texas, not South-by… Like, gun. Small town. Like, you know those small towns where, like, only two people eat sushi? Like, you say sushi, and they’re like, “Oh yeah, Gary loves sushi.” Like they know the guy? And they’re like, “Why does it cost so much? They don’t cook it.” Like, they don’t… They don’t get anything about quality fish. We spent the whole day together. We’re sitting at dinner, Kelly gets up to go to the bathroom, it’s just me and her mom. And her mom goes, “Ramy, I have to tell you something. “Before I met you, I was afraid. “The only Muslims I’d ever seen were on the news. “I didn’t know what would happen between you and my daughter. “But now that we spent this whole day together, I just wanna tell you, I was wrong and I’m sorry.” And it was a really beautiful moment, but… the only thing I wanted to do was break up with her daughter. Because it made me realize something about myself. Because I was like, “Man, this woman hated Muslims, and then she spent just a couple of hours with me and completely changed her mind.” Like, if I had that kind of power, I have a responsibility to sleep with as many white women as possible.

I understand if you think it’s disgusting, but this is the best plan the Democrats have. There’s no candidate. And I know there’s a lot of Muslims here, and I’m doing this for you. This isn’t easy for me. I had to learn how to ski. Like, it’s… It’s nuts. These people do crazy sports because they know they should die. And it’s really…

No, no. Nah, white people are doing good. Really, no, like, I really like where white guilt is at right now. Right? You can feel it. They’re like… they know. But I think there’s room to get even guiltier. You know what I mean? Like, I was watching one of those drug recall commercials. You know where they’re like, “Hey, if you took this drug in the last few years, we might owe you some money. It’s harmful.” It’s like, fuck, man, I want white guilt to get to the point where my life gets recalled. You know, like, turn on the TV in a couple years, see a guy in a suit, and he’s just like, “Hi, “were you Muslim between 2001 and 2025? If so, we may owe you a huge cash settlement.” “Were you black ever?” “Even now, in the future?”

The questions… the questions that happen when people who haven’t met each other, it’s amazing. These white mo… There’s really something to it. Because they’ll find out I’m Muslim. The second they find out, crazy question. Why do you make them wear that? I’m like, “Who?” This woman goes, “I was in the Middle East. “It was so hot. It was 100 degrees out, “and this woman had to wear a scarf and she was sweating. Why do you make her wear that?” I was like, “All right, first of all, “you were in the Middle East. It wasn’t 100 degrees because they use Celsius.” “Maybe it was 30. If it was 100, you would’ve melted.” The other thing is, just because you don’t get it, doesn’t mean it’s oppressive. If you step outside of even your own culture, things might look weird.

Like, I realized this, you know? I was on a date in New York in January. It was seven degrees… Fahrenheit. The woman I was with was wearing a really short dress. You know, she wanted to look nice. And we got out of the car, we were like two blocks away. And she was like, “What? It’s all the way over there?” And I’m like, “Yeah, come on. Hurry, quick.” And she’s, like, shivering, but she can’t really move that fast because her heels are slowing her down. I just look in her eyes, and I see this look of panic. And she’s so cold. The only thing I could think was like, “Fuck. Why do they make her wear that?” No, like, and her… Her hair got all fucked up from the wind. It took her, like, an hour to do. I was like, “You should’ve just worn a scarf. Like, it would’ve been…” “…so much easier.” You know what I mean? Just… Let’s just move on with this thing.

But people are afraid of it, because they don’t know. And I don’t blame them, because I… I don’t know how anybody knows what they know… if all you’re watching is the news, yeah. I remember I realized how fucked up it was that they were just telling us how to feel. It was with Dennis Hastert. – You guys remember him? – Yep. Couple people. Longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House. He touched kids, nobody knows. Because the news didn’t cover it. But Jared from Subway… Every reporter in the country for years was like, “Did he feed them the sandwiches?” “Tonight at 10.” It’s just proof. It’s just proof that the media is fucking run by Quiznos. Like, the… You see it now, right? Like, it’s… They’ve been doing it forever. They’ve been doing it forever. And that’s how bad thing happen.

Like this dude in New Zealand. You think he wasn’t just watching this stuff on loop? A mosque got shot up, and I think about that because I go to the mosque. I go every Friday. And it’s always a weird thing when I tell people I actually go to the mosque to pray. Nobody wants you to be that Muslim. Everyone just wants you to have, like, a good hummus recipe. Like, they wanna know about baba ghanoush, not Allah. Like, they’re like, “Let’s just keep it there.” I would tell people, you know, “I’m going to the mosque,” whatever, and they think it’s weird. It’s changed since this thing happened. Now, it’s like… kind of badass to go to the mosque. I’ll tell you how I realized, man. It’s like, dude, I was texting this girl, and she was like, “You wanna get lunch on Friday?” And I was like, “No, I’m going to the mosque. Friday prayers.” She goes, “Oh my God.” “Like New Zealand?” “Are you gonna be okay?” And I was like, “I mean, you know, I don’t know.” “I don’t know. Anything could happen.” She was like, “Are you sure you gotta go? Why?” I was like, “I do it for God.” She thought that was so hot. I rolled into the mosque with my boys like, “Yo man, what the fuck?” Anything could happen. We were like rappers, dude. We felt so dope going in, pounding each other. We got this.

Because that stuff’s not even the hard part about Friday prayers. Friday prayers aren’t tough because violence could happen. They’re tough because it’s Friday. Like, praying is… Whatever you do, if you pray, meditate, you do it so you can cleanse, so you can reset. That… Friday in the middle of the day is… the worst time to do that. Because there’s Friday prayers and then there’s Friday nights. I’ll be at Friday prayers, I’m listening to the imam. I’m like, “Yo, this is me, man.” I go out Friday, I see the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and I’m like, “No, this is me. I think, this is…” “This is, wow!” To pray on Friday? It’s like getting your car washed before a hurricane. Like, you know what the weather is gonna be. You’re like, “No, I’m gonna spend $50 and detail the whole thing.” Why? Because we have to.

It’s just so much easier to be Christian. Sunday? Man, that’s the day. You fuck up the whole weekend, and then you’re just like, “God, I don’t know what that was.” “Just make me new.” Friday, we’re like… We’re at mosque, we’re like, “Hey, look, this might not count. “Just make me sick. Just knock me out. Do something so I can stay home and not be a piece of shit.”

I started praying when I was a kid. My parents didn’t even force me to. It was what I wanted. My parents never forced religion on me, they only forced love. Like, my mom loves me so much, and I love her. I really love… I mean, she’s an amazing mom, amazing person. But the love I feel for her, I don’t know if it was my choice. It’s that Arab mom love, you know? It’s like, is this violence? Like I don’t know what… …what’s happening right now. Or it’s like, “I think this is a lot.” She’s like, “No, this is love.” “Are you sure?” She’s like, “Yeah,” and I’m like, “Okay, I love you, too.”

My mom was so worried about me as a kid. Like, there was something about the way I looked as a kid… maybe even the way I look now… that makes me seem abductable. Like, my mom was convinced I was gonna be taken. Like, she watched the movie Taken like couples watch The Notebook. She’s like, “Yeah, this is my movie, this is my story.” And this is… this is… This is the crazy part of it. All my friends were getting cell phones. So I told my mom, I was like, “Hey, why don’t you just get me a phone? Then you know where I am.” And my mom was really paranoid, but she was also really cheap. So instead of buying me a cell phone, she bought me a four-mile radius walkie-talkie… …that I had to carry with me everywhere that I went. I had to charge it every night, like the whole thing. And I remember at first everyone was like, “Ah, man, Ramy’s got a walkie-talkie! What’s the range on that thing? How far does it go?”

And then 9-11 happened, and everyone was like, “Oh man, Ramy’s got a walkie-talkie.” “What’s the range on that thing? How far does it go?” And the name of the first World Trade Center bomber was Ramzi Yousef. And everybody thought we were related, including me. I was like, “Yeah, he might be part of the family. “I don’t know, everyone’s always late to dinner. Maybe.” “Maybe.” People started getting in my head, telling me I was a terrorist, all that shit. This kid convinced me I was related to Bin Laden. I would fight him. He’d be like, “You’re Middle Eastern.” And I’d be like, “No, man, I’m from Egypt.” “It’s in Africa. I’m black.” No, guys, I very much wasn’t black, and there’s no… there’s nothing more suspicious than just wearing a ton of Iverson jerseys and… …trying to blend in.

Because he had the whole school convinced I was up to some shit. This kid, Will. No one would question him, because he was just like… he was that popular kid. But he wasn’t even popular because of his personality. It was just, like, infrastructure shit. His parents had a pool. It was like, fuck. I can’t fuck with in-ground pool cool. I’m done. He convinced everyone, because we were in Jersey, that Bin Laden was coming to the school. Everyone believed him. People were taking off Monday. It was like a three-day Bin Laden weekend. And everyone was scared. I’m thinking I’m related to him. They’re all like, “What are we gonna do?” I was like, “I don’t know. What are you guys gonna do?” “That’s my uncle.” I had some very prominent uncles as a kid. It was… It was a crazy time.

I think my biggest victory as a kid was getting a dog. That’s hard with Arab parents. They don’t… But, man, I convinced my dad. I just wanted one so bad. Because I watched Air Bud, and I was like… You know what I mean? I knew I couldn’t play basketball, but I was like, he could. I got this dog. I loved him so much. He was my best friend, and he just died last year. That’s how long I had him. It’s amazing. And when he died, all this guilt started to set in. And I was like, “Was he really my best friend? Did I treat him the way I treat my human best friends?” Because I’ve never told my best friend, “Hey, man, “I’m gonna hook up with this girl tonight, so you can’t pee till tomorrow.” You ever do that to your boy? Like, you ever cut your best friend’s balls off? After taking him away from his mother forever? No, like, you ever invite a friend over and you’re like, “Oh man, thanks for coming over. You’re never going home again.” “We hang out forever now.” I started to feel so guilty.

I went to this woman’s house. She had a Saint Bernard. And I’m looking at its huge, beautiful paw. I’m like, “Fuck, man, that paw is meant to climb mountains, but it’s digging into this Ikea pillow.” And I’m like, is the living room the natural habitat for the Saint Bernard? Like, was this dog meant to watch all of Gilmore Girls? Like, that’s barely meant for humans. I don’t… And she had him in a hoodie. Yeah, in a hoodie, and the hoodie said, “My dog’s a Democrat.” I was like, is he? And he was on the couch. She wanted us to sit on it, so she’s yelling at him to get off. He doesn’t understand, so she drags him and takes him into the kitchen and puts him behind one of those doggy gates. I’m like, fuck, you just put him behind a wall because he doesn’t understand English. You said you were Democrats.

And then we like shit on cats, too. We’re like, oh, cats are mean, or whatever. I think they just see what we’ve done to dogs. They’re like, you see what happens when you’re nice? You get a fucking leash. That’s why the cats are always fighting in the alleyways. They’re like, you’re showing too much heart. You’re gonna fuck our whole race up.

I would still get a dog, though, I really would. I would, I just… I can’t really control how I feel. That’s why I believe in God, because I don’t believe in my feelings. My feelings make no sense. Like I feel shit and I’m like, “I probably shouldn’t be feeling this.” Like… Maybe someone here has felt this. Like, you ever… You ever have that cousin growing up that you kind of have a vibe with? You know what I mean? You’re like, “Aw, man, she looks good.” But then you grow up and you’re like, “Oh, I’m over it,” or whatever. But… You ever not over it? I was in Egypt, I was at my cousin’s wedding, and I realized I was really jealous of the guy she was getting married to. And I had to step outside, and I was like, holy shit. Have I been in love with my cousin this whole time? Do you think it’s weird? It’s only weird if you don’t have a hot cousin. If you think it’s weird, you just have an ugly family. I’m sorry. That’s not an attack, but it’s just the second you have a hot cousin, that wall comes down so quick. You’re like, “Wait, what? It’s my mom’s brother’s…?” Like, it feels so far away.

Why can’t we be with our cousins? Like, does anyone have a real reason? A real reason? What? Genetics? Genetic disaster? That’s propaganda. Seriously, I looked into it. I really did. The rate doubles. It does. It goes from 1.4% to 2.8% chance that something could happen. When did 2.8% ever stop you from doing fucking anything? Let alone love. I know there’s, like, seven billion people, and there’s all these apps and shit, but like, how do you think we got here? This was all built on cousins. Forever, like this whole idea that, like… Look, this is what happens with the genetics thing. If you get with your cousin, and then that kid gets with their cousin, then there’s problems. But as long as you don’t double-cousin, there’s literally no… …there’s no problem. Like, I know you’re still thinking about it, but you don’t have to. We’ve been brainwashed, man. This shit started in America. They said being with your cousin would fuck up the kids, because they didn’t want immigrant populations to grow. Isn’t that crazy? They didn’t want immigrant families to grow. That’s racist. That’s why I’m not upset about the Muslim ban and stuff. Like, I’m still thinking about the cousin ban. Like, this is… We’ve been kept from our own people. And it’s just so disappointing because I’m in this crowd of people who are, like, woke, or whatever, but you’re not, like…

I saw some of you when I was saying some shit, and now you’re all like… I’m sharing a sexual feeling… …and you shut down. And I’ve stood up for everybody. I’ll stand up for the gay community, the trans community. That’s a group of people that doesn’t identify with the body they were born in. And I’m like, yeah, I get that, because I don’t identify as being her cousin. Gender is a construct, so is family. Like, all of this is just… It’s what we say it is.

I’m just… We’re all so lonely, and I’m just saying love could be so much closer than you think. Seriously, this Thanksgiving, just really look around the table. You could have so much to be thankful for. You’ll be like, “Oh my God, you were there the whole time?” It’s so easy. There’s no in-laws, everybody’s just in.

All right, be alone. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to say.

All right, I mean, I guess if we’re in weird thoughts… …I’ll share a weirder one… and then I’ll probably go. You ever think something that you don’t wanna think? Like, it’s just where your mind got to? You don’t know if it’s true, it’s just how you feel. So I was thinking that, in this weird way, 9-11 made me more Muslim. Because I was told it was my fault. I was told that the most horrible thing that I had ever seen happen, to this day, was because of who I was, where I came from, the language that I speak, and my faith. And I had to find out if that was true. So I looked into it, and I realized, not only was that not true, but this was something that I really wanted to be a part of my life. I started praying, I started fasting, I started doing all these things that I might not have done. Like, If 9-11 didn’t happen, I might’ve just been like, “Yeah, my dad’s from Egypt. Add the bacon.”

But because it happened, all this fear happened, too, and it elected the dude that we have. And it’s not good. Like, even the people who voted for him are kinda like, “” You see them… it’s like when your friend’s drunk at a party, and someone’s like, “Is that your friend?” And you’re like, “No, I mean, you know… “We went to middle school together, but…”

He’s dismantling the courts. No one knows what he’s gonna do next, even the people in his own party. He’s making us weak. But the way I feel about how I believe and my faith, that’s how all my friends are. And so it’s like, Islam is stronger, and America is weaker all because of this one thing. And so the thought I had was… did 9-11 work? I know, but… But…

Now that I have your attention… The ice caps are melting, like, I… It’s not good. We gotta figure it out. We really gotta figure it out.

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