The first big decision of the day was that I was in my hotel room and looking at two different pairs of shoes — am I going to wear these dress shoes or am I going to wear my [Nike] Air Force 1? If I don’t win, no one’s going to see my shoes and if I do win, I want to be comfortable and I want people to see my shoes, so I went with my Air Forces.
Being on the red carpet, it was definitely exciting because you’re seeing all these people and you really love their work, people I’ve been a fan of for my whole life. To run into like, Brad Pitt — not talk to him, but see him — and then I did run into [Quentin] Tarantino, who had seen me do stand-up a few times, so it was fun to see him and be there when we both had things nominated. To get to do it with my sister was also really fun, I was impressed and she was doubly impressed with all the people there. I’ve been living in LA for a while and you run into people or see people, but for her, it was definitely exciting to see her reactions to everyone there and to have her there with me.
So we get inside [the venue] and I got to the table that we were sitting at, and it was the table all the way in the corner and my name card was up against the wall with people on either side of me. Right when I got to that table, I was like, ‘there’s no way I won because this is not a winning table, it doesn’t make sense from like, a filming point of view – how are they going to shoot this? It’s going to be such a long walk and if I’m going to win, I’d have to be a lot closer and I’d need to be able to get out of my seat, there’s a huge flaw here so no way.’ That was my initial thought.
I sat down and was chatting to my sister. I ran into one of my co-stars from my show, Molly Gordon, who was there with Ben Platt, who was also nominated in my category, they’re friends of mine and so it was really cool to just see friends. I saw Molly and Ben and Zoey Deutch and I know all of them, so we were all like, “what are we all doing here, this is so wild and crazy.” Then I saw JLo walk in and I realized what everyone has been talking about all these years, it was very clear to me upon seeing her, it was like, this is a different energy of a human being.
Ricky Gervais started talking and it was a weird moment because he was up there [on stage] and someone came over saying “your category is up first,” and I had no idea that it was and someone at Hulu was like, “it was in an email,” and I didn’t read the email so I had no idea I was in the first category. So I’m sitting there and I was actually happy I was the first category because I’m actually going to find out what my night is going to be like, this is going to be pretty fierce right off the bat. And it’s happening. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston come out and talk about the category and who’s nominated, and then they take out the card. And there’s this weird scene, just as they started opening the envelope, everything in my body was like, ‘I’ve got to figure out how to get up there.’ Meanwhile, I was boxed into this weird corner seat. It only happened over two seconds but I was just so sure, in a weird way, and then I saw Jennifer Aniston looking at the card and she was kind of squinting, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is a look I’ve seen with every substitute teacher, with every person who’s trying to call my name out at a doctor’s office — she doesn’t know how to say my name, she’s not sure what it is, she’s just said Michael Douglas and all these people that people know how to say their names and she’s like, what is this name?’ And then I saw Reese Witherspoon kind of come in for the save and I was like, ‘Oh my god, Reese knows my name.’
And so I get called up. I was so overwhelmed that I forgot to hug my sister, I just sprung up and walked off and turned around and then reached my hand out to her. I didn’t know what to do at the moment, it was pretty nuts. I felt like it was a very clear moment in my life where I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t anything – it was like, this is happening and it felt really exciting. I felt very connected to the room and I got to go up there and my first thought when I touched the Globe was that it was genuinely heavier than it seemed, and it was in my hand and I looked at it. I hadn’t really prepared, I said “Allahu Akbar” because it was how I felt and it was very genuine to me, and it was also comedic timing because Ricky had just made fun of people thanking their god. It’s so tied to the work that I’ve put my whole life into and these words in my language that means so much to me, from a cultural place and a spiritual place, to be recognized — and it’s a word that’s associated with a lot of horrific things— this is the first word genuinely that came into my heart when I won something, that’s what it means. So to be able to say that and have that happen was really exciting.
I just looked out and it was very natural seeing a crowd because of stand-up, I’m so used to it so I was just up there and thinking, it’s just a crowd, and when you’re in front of a crowd, you have to come prepared with material but you also have to read the room. I knew I wanted to say thank you and I knew I wanted to say what an award like this meant for my show, but reading the room and seeing how people were looking at me, I was like, “I don’t think you guys have seen my show, maybe some of you have but most of you haven’t,” and then I just started riffing about being an editor, not planned — if you do enough stand-up comedy and college cafeterias, you just develop something that helps you to say stuff wherever you are. And then I saw I had 30 seconds left on the clock to keep talking and I didn’t really have anything else to say, I hate when people get up and they take up too much time, so I was like, “Alright, I’m out.” I think I’ll save the deep conversations for my parents.
The feeling right when I got off stage was going through press rooms and it was very overwhelming and it was this crazy electric feeling because I knew this was the biggest group of people I had ever talked just considering that it’s broadcast, and also, it was the first win of the night and it just had this energy around it. I had that feeling that was definitely a high. In a weird way, something clearly felt very brand new and also, part of it was like, ‘this is dumb and fun,’ I was looking at the trophy and the rest of the night was really fun because I got to win. In that moment, you’re a bit like, ‘Oh, it’ll never feel this good,’ in terms of an awards show, it was just so unexpected and not what I thought was going to happen. It was very special.
It was fun to hang out with people that I admire and have conversations with. I got to talk to Jesse Plemmons, I love his work so much, so I got to talk to him and his partner Kirsten Dunst, who I’ve been a fan of for so long and she’s from New Jersey. I got to meet Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who I’m such a fan of and it was such an insane thing because I love her show and she’s seen mine. What felt exciting was that other than the recognition, to connect with other people whose work I really respect and tell them how you really feel. I spent the whole night carrying the Globe and my whole body got super sore because it was pretty heavy. Afterwards at the afterparty, the restaurant had dividers between the booths that had holes in them and Paul Rudd was on the other side of the divider. We were talking to each other and shaking hands through a hole in the divider and saying congrats to each other. He’s such a genuine guy and I’ve been a fan of his from high school and I think he’s so talented and funny, so just to get to tell him that was really amazing.
I then was FaceTiming with all my friends back home and my family and my parents, and it was really nice. These parties go pretty late but honestly, I was with my sister and at a certain point around 10.30, just decided to get out of there and I got a bunch of my friends together and we played cards and ate candy and just talked about it, and it was kind of the only thing I wanted. To end the night on that note, with all my buddies taking pictures with the Globe, was really fun. The next day, I was on an airplane heading back to New York because I had to continue shooting, we were in the middle of production [on the second season of Ramy], and my mom immediately confiscated the Globe and it now lives with her.
For the second season of the show, the pressure is all internal. The pressure is to grow the characters and tell the right story. The show is made to connect with the audience, but it’s not made to cater to the audiences’ demands. It’s made as communication. If you’re having an honest conversation with somebody, you’re not telling them what they want to hear, you’re telling them what you feel, and that is the same relationship we have with the audience. It’s not that I don’t care about the audience but this isn’t about the audience having on demand experiences with what’s being made. So there’s a recognition that more people are going to watch [this season], but I think I already felt that when I knew that we were going to have Mahershala Ali on the show and also just seeing how the show was growing organically.