Good things happen when we play matchmaker with two of the funniest people we know.
For this episode, we set Ramy Youssef (RAMY on Hulu) and Awkwafina (The Farewell) up on a platonic podcast date. To no one's surprise, they hit it off right away, bonding over their Queens roots, experiences growing up 1st generation, and desire to visit Harry Potter World.
Other topics covered include: lies we tell our families, the gift of cold hard cash, visiting Disney as an adult, pet monkeys (dream versus reality), Murakami, the Malcolm X watch, LA car culture, universality through specificity, connecting the dots, and the longing to know the places our parents' parents once called home.
Awkwafina: Hey, what's up? It's Awkwafina.
Ramy Youssef: Hey. This is Ramy Youssef.
Awkwafina: And we're here with... Do you want to say it together? The A24 Podcast.
Ramy: The A24 Podcast.
Awkwafina: And we were paired up.
Ramy: It's very exciting. Just saw The Farewell, which comes out soon, which is really exciting.
Awkwafina: We're all in the A24 family out here.
Ramy: We're all in the A24 family.
Awkwafina: Congrats on your show and everything.
Ramy: Thank you. I really-
Awkwafina: It's so cool to meet you.
Ramy: Yeah, same.
Awkwafina: I can't wait to get into it.
Awkwafina: It's going to be great.
Ramy: Very exciting.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Should we start? Yeah. Okay.
Ramy: It's a rainy day.
Awkwafina: We're in a hotel room.
Ramy: We're playing tic-tac-toe, loosely. This is the nicest tic-tac-toe I've seen, for sure.
Awkwafina: Yes. It's very nice.
Ramy: It's like a chess-quality tic-tac-toe.
Awkwafina: It is, and there's also leather. There's some leather on it.
Ramy: I think leather is my ideal couch.
Awkwafina: Really? I don't like it.
Awkwafina: Yeah. I feel like you stick to it.
Ramy: You stick, like if it's hot?
Awkwafina: Like, if I have a nap and I wake up and I feel like I'm peeling myself off of it.
Ramy: You'd better remove yourself from the couch.
Ramy: It just feels easy to clean. Anything that's cloth-
Awkwafina: Oh, my god. I didn't think about that. Yeah.
Ramy: ... I'm like, “Oh.” Anything, I'm always like, “Oh, it's going to absorb too much, and more than I want it to.”
Awkwafina: Sure. I mean, you're going to stain a couch. That's going to happen.
Ramy: Couch, yeah. Crazy stuff happens on couches.
Awkwafina: Yeah, all kinds.
Ramy: You would think only like crazy things happen on beds, but then you're like, “No, couches-”
Awkwafina: It's more crazy on a couch, because you're introducing more things on a couch, like other people's butts. You know?
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Awkwafina: I think so many people, so many butts have been on my couch at this point.
Ramy: Yeah. The couch definitely has more of like a public transportation feel for your house, where it's like anything-
Awkwafina: For sure. That's what it is. It's the bus of your house.
Ramy: It's the bus of your house.
Awkwafina: It's the bus of your house. Yeah. At first, I was prejudiced about it, but now I'm like, “You know what? Just pee on it.” There was a dog at my house, and I was just like, “Just pee on it. I don't care.”
Ramy: Just pee on the thing. Doesn't matter.
Awkwafina: I spilled on it once and I was like, “It's done. Now you can do whatever you want.”
Ramy: You just moved to LA. Did you get a new couch?
Awkwafina: I did, yeah. I found this great website, where you can order it and then they come and deliver it.
Ramy: Yeah, I think I just IKEA'd when I moved to LA.
Awkwafina: I don't like IKEA. I can't do it. It's too much for me. And then also, I don't know how to put things together. What I don't like is I don't want the furniture to sit there for, in my case, maybe like three months, because that's how much of a-
Ramy: It's either like I want the apartment to be empty, or I want it to be fully done. That in-between is horrifying.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Yeah, I hate the in-between. You feel like less of a person, you know?
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I want it to be all good and painted and all that. It was funny because I was looking through some of your stuff, and I realized that I had seen your rap stuff a while ago.
Awkwafina: Yeah, I'm that same person. Yeah.
Ramy: That trajectory's just really fun, because I was telling you, I just saw your movie last night-
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah. That's awesome.
Ramy: ... and it's so cool to see this really thoughtful movie, where you're going to see a family back home, and it was such a great role.
Awkwafina: Oh, yeah. I think that if... Because the question came up as to whether I should have been billed as Awkwafina or Nora Lum, and I think it's a privilege that I don't have right now to just go by Nora Lum and expect everyone to put that connection together, because I feel like if you saw my videos, and then I was billed as Nora Lum, you'd be like, “But, yeah.”
Ramy: But the role is very Nora Lum.
Awkwafina: Yeah. It is. Yeah.
Ramy: It's a Nora Lum role, for sure.
Awkwafina: Yeah, man. Obviously, comedy is like, if I had two arms, one would be so swole muscle, and the other one is so underused, and I think what Lulu really taught me is to not rely on those muscles that you rely on all the time, your whole life. I think once you do that, you become vulnerable. There's something endearing about that, but it's also an experience that you go through.
Ramy: How long were you in China?
Awkwafina: Over a month.
Ramy: It was so crazy to see the parallels. We shot the last two episodes of my show in Cairo.
Awkwafina: Oh, my God. That's awesome.
Ramy: Yeah. So, we were in Egypt for almost a month, and it was interesting seeing... Well, there's two things. One, I speak Arabic.
Awkwafina: That's awesome. My name means sunny, Nor.
Ramy: Nor, yeah. Yeah, it means light.
Awkwafina: Oh, that's great.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nor is light.
Awkwafina: That's tight.
Ramy: So, you speak Chinese?
Awkwafina: No. I wasn't raised with it.
Ramy: You weren't raised with it.
Awkwafina: I went to China when I was like 18.
Ramy: Okay. So, in the movie are you kind of being coached certain lines, or how did it work?
Awkwafina: I knew more than a crash course because I had to communicate when I lived there years back, because it's hard. You have to know what you're saying. You have to know the words, the verbs. You know?
Ramy: Totally. I was so curious what your experience was because I speak Arabic, but it's not-
Awkwafina: That's awesome, though.
Ramy: No. It's great, but also, I realized I hit a wall like 30, 40 minutes into interactions. So, here-
Awkwafina: While actually there, right?
Ramy: While there, yeah, because it's like, I only know so much, and so I started... I remember a couple of years ago, I was in Egypt, and I realized I was really kind of feeling depressed or something. I couldn't tell what it was, and then I realized, “Oh, it's because I can't express myself.”
Awkwafina: Communicate. Exactly.
Ramy: Yeah. It's not-
Awkwafina: Yeah. You can't express yourself properly.
Ramy: Or I can't even express myself with the nuance that I like to do here.
Awkwafina: Oh, yeah.
Ramy: So, you're like, oh, without my nuance, there's something missing of who I am, or maybe I'm feeling more of the raw me that, because we use words for so many things, and we kind of... whether it be higher for certain things.
Awkwafina: That's sound very profound.
Ramy: No, but I was sitting there, and I was like, who am I without my witty joke, without my banter?
Awkwafina: Yeah. Who are we if we can't communicate?
Ramy: Right. I mean, we were just talking about this tic-tac-toe, and then we started riffing about a couch, and I'm like, I can't do that in Arabic. You know what I mean? In Arabic, I can just be like, “Hey, I'm-”
Awkwafina: But the thing is that I think that if you tried, I think that if you were talking to someone who spoke that language, they would understand-
Ramy: Yeah. Well, that's also a difference. Right?
Ramy: The tone could be a little bit different.
Awkwafina: Like we were talking about couches, I don't know if that... Okay, yeah.
Ramy: But there's also stuff that I find funny that my parents don't find funny here, or stuff that I find funny and other groups of friends of mine are like, "What are you talking about?"
Awkwafina: What are things that our parents find funny that we don't?
Ramy: They prefer a clear premise that has... It almost feels like every romcom is kind of made for my parents, and then my dad will watch my show, which we have a different tone, and he's kind of like, “Yeah, your show's slow.” You know?
Awkwafina: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay.
Ramy: It's like he's... It's not his preference.
Awkwafina: Yeah. My grandma, it's like the most pivotal point in The Farewell when I was showing it to her, and I was waiting to show this to her for so long. She got up and started cooking, and I was like, “Grandma, where are you going, dude?” She's like, “I got to cook. It's 5:00.” I was like, “It's 5:00, exactly. It's 5:00 p.m., dude. Chill.”
Ramy: This is a really important part of a movie I'm really proud of.
Awkwafina: I know. I'm sitting there crying, and I was like, okay, all right, she's not moved. That's fine. She can only withstand like 20 seconds of content. Longer than that, she's just like... You could see her just looking at the wall somewhere, thinking.
Ramy: She can't do it.
Awkwafina: Can't do it.
Ramy: It's funny. Old people have taken over YouTube and Facebook in this crazy way.
Awkwafina: In terms of consumption?
Ramy: They're on it.
Awkwafina: Yeah, they're on it.
Ramy: They're on it.
Awkwafina: My grandma lives on YouTube, dude. It's hilarious.
Ramy: And installing apps and stuff, and the whole thing. I mean-
Awkwafina: It's so cute. The apps that I found that she's installed for herself, she installed a mahjong app, and she installed a random card game. I was like, "How did you even know how to play this card game, dude?"
Ramy: I know. My mom is always testing out these apps, and she got-
Awkwafina: That's awesome.
Ramy: ... and she got this one app. I don't even know what it's called, but it's like a security app, and so you kind of put your address in, and it's almost like a quick way to call the cops or something.
Awkwafina: Oh, themselves awesome.
Ramy: She's texting my sister and I, and she was like, “Guys, install this app. It looks really good,” and then five minutes later, she writes, “Nevermind. It seems weird,” and then what ended up happening five minutes after that was the cops went to the house, and they were like-
Awkwafina: That's awesome.
Ramy: ... “What's going on,” and my dad went downstairs, and he was like, “What's going on?” He's like, “We got a call.”
Awkwafina: Oh, man.
Ramy: They said my mom's name, and then my dad was like, “What,” and then my mom was like, “Oh, nothing. It's just the app.”
Awkwafina: It works.
Ramy: Then they were like, “Yeah. No, we need to see her,” because they didn't know-
Awkwafina: Oh, yeah, if he had killed her or something. That's horrible.
Ramy: My mom had to come down, address the cops, and talk to them.
Awkwafina: Wait, that sounds like a pretty good app, though.
Ramy: Oh, my god. But the funniest thing was that my mom just wrote to us, was like, “Ah, nevermind. It seems weird,” and it was clearly because she had called the cops-
Awkwafina: She initiated it.
Ramy: ... and then she deleted the app off her phone. That was her reaction, because she was like, oh, maybe they're... because I think it said, “They're coming,” or whatever, and then she deleted it.
Awkwafina: Oh, my god.
Ramy: So, she just-
Awkwafina: That's like ordering a thousand dollars worth of food on Postmates and then deleting the app and telling all your kids that it wasn't that good.
Ramy: And being like, “It's a bad app,” or whatever.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Oh, that's hilarious.
Ramy: Yeah. So, the phone has... My mom, she's just on it more than anybody. It's funny though because they're always using it to communicate overseas. I don't know about your family, but I feel like we're constantly on WhatsApp and Viber.
Awkwafina: My grandma's not, but all of her friends are.
Ramy: Everyone, yeah, yeah.
Awkwafina: Yeah, and that's how you communicate with everyone. It's great.
Ramy: Yeah. It's like this constant back-and-forth, and it was really cool though when I was watching it, and I realized how many similar things there are culturally. It's almost out of honor, but it's a certain type of line. “Well, it's just better if we hide this thing, or if we don't...”
Ramy: Did you feel that growing up?
Awkwafina: No. It was a really new concept to me. I didn't understand it, and I did not know prevalent it is as a practice. I was watching it with my grandma, and my aunt is El Salvadorian, and she was sitting on one side, and my grandma was sitting on another side, and my aunt was like, “Do they really do this,” and my grandma was like, “Yeah. Where have you been?” My aunt's like, “What? That's crazy,” and my grandma's like, “Well, yeah. This is what...” Then I was like, “Would you want me to do it to you?” She was like, “Oh, hell no. You better not.” She got really mad. It's not weird to them, but in the United States there's a lot of interflow of legality in the medical system-
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course.
Awkwafina: ... and also your privacy. You know?
Ramy: Yeah, of course.
Awkwafina: I think that's where tradition effects policy there, in that doctors are allowed to hide people's health reports from them.
Ramy: Outside of the medical lie, not to give away too much of your personal life, but was your family a white lie family, or the little white lies thrown around, or what?
Awkwafina: Maybe a little bit, but then I think there's always an event where things aggressively come to a head, and everyone has breakdowns. All of my grandma's children in their 40s will have a simultaneous breakdown. Everything will explode, but it's not... I think that was from more of really talking about your problems in a really uncomfortable way instead of pretending like everything's cool. You know?
Ramy: Yeah. I'm so curious of the differences culturally because Arabs, we really can hide our emotions. We're kind of like, “Oh, everything's okay. Everything's fine,” and we'll talk about politics. You know?
Awkwafina: Right, right.
Ramy: It's like, everything's very political, and so many... It's so funny how much politics felt like it was a part of my life.
Awkwafina: That's awesome, though. That's cool.
Ramy: You think?
Awkwafina: Yeah. Hell yeah. That's awesome. I don't think we've ever talked about politics, but I always thought... Yeah. We would just talk about literal problems.
Ramy: That feels so emotionally open, though. That's amazing.
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah.
Ramy: Do you have a close relationship with your family?
Awkwafina: Yeah, I do.
Awkwafina: Yeah. My grandma's like my best friend still.
Awkwafina: Yeah, everyone's cool. They're really Americanized, though. The only, I think, very typical Asian parent figure was my grandpa, who was really quiet and holed himself up in a study where he wouldn't come out. I feel like everyone has an Asian dad like that, or a grandpa like that.
Ramy: Dude, grandpa behavior is the best.
Ramy: Yeah, that's the best.
Awkwafina: He loves the Danish cookie tins. Yeah, he's a good guy.
Ramy: Rip through some cookie tins, and then do this own thing.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Asian grandpas love cookies, man. I think that's all grandpas, maybe.
Ramy: I mean, definitely my grandpa is in on the cookie game.
Awkwafina: You know, we should have a cookie, and then the slogan's like, “It's a grandpa thing.” You know?
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly.
Awkwafina: Yeah, Grandpa's Cookies.
Ramy: Yeah. My grandpa's really... He's got that solitary thing where he kind of does his own thing, and he's constantly listening to the news. He has all these gadgets.
Awkwafina: Same with my grandpa.
Ramy: He's got an iPad mini and an iPod Touch, and a radio, and a-
Awkwafina: Oh, no. My grandpa would have an electric hole puncher, things like that, like a label maker or a portable radio.
Ramy: Oh, no. Oh, my grandpa has rechargeable batteries.
Awkwafina: Yeah, all that.
Ramy: It's a big thing my grandpa's obsessed with, where he's like, “Why would we keep paying for batteries when we can just recharge them?”
Awkwafina: Exactly. That blew my... I just found out about that recently-
Ramy: Oh, my god.
Awkwafina: ... that you could recharge a Duracell battery.
Ramy: Yeah. No, my grandpa's all in on that.
Awkwafina: That's awesome.
Ramy: He goes to the flea market and kind of goes around, get knickknacks, watches and radio and all those things.
Awkwafina: That's amazing. That's so cute. That's precious.
Ramy: He's obsessed, listening to news stuff on... It was the funniest thing. Last year, we were singing Happy Birthday to him, and we're all around the table, the lights are closed, candles on the cake, everyone's singing Happy Birthday, and he's kind of halfheartedly nodding his head, like, oh, yeah, yeah, listen to this bullshit, and up to his ear is his iPad Mini. He's listening to a news story in the middle of a-
Awkwafina: That's amazing, dude.
Ramy: It's like, we're singing him Happy Birthday, he's like, “Uh-huh (affirmative).”
Awkwafina: Oh, my god. That's amazing. I love that.
Ramy: He's like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah, yeah, yeah-”
Awkwafina: That is tight.
Ramy: ... and he's just listening to the Happy Birthday-
Awkwafina: That's amazing. I love that. He sounds awesome.
Ramy: ... and we're all, “Yeah, let's just sing through in,” then my other uncle-
Awkwafina: That's awesome.
Ramy: ... won't come because he doesn't... My other uncle doesn't come to anything that's a thing, so if it's a birthday, if it's Thanksgiving, if it's Ramadan, if it's-
Awkwafina: He doesn't like that?
Ramy: ... anything that has a title on it or feels like too much of an event, he's like, “Yeah, I can't do that.”
Awkwafina: Oh, wow.
Ramy: So, we have all these dynamics going on. It's really fun.
Awkwafina: That's funny. Yeah, I think all families, they have their own sense of cute dysfunctionality.
Ramy: What's the cutest dysfunction of your family, do you think? What's the most adorable, weird thing, or an adorable, not to rank them, because it's kind of hard to rank these things.
Awkwafina: I think that the fighting... You have that uncle, there's those characters in my family, the ones that wanted to go live in Texas, and just everyone left New York and moved to the South.
Ramy: Do you know Jenny Zhang?
Awkwafina: Jenny Zhang?
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Zhang.
Ramy: She's an author. She's really dope. I was reading her book, and I was so curious about the crossover, and then I was talking to her, and we both hit on the same thing of just, and I don't know if you feel this way, but how hard it is to get our parents a gift, or get-
Awkwafina: It's so hard.
Awkwafina: You know the feeling of worthlessness when you get your dad, I don't know, a cheap money clip for when you're 12, and he looks at it, and it's like, “Oh, okay”? That's how Asian parents accept gifts. It's either that or, “Oh,” and then they throw it in front of you. They're like, “I'm never going to open this at all.” Yeah.
Ramy: I was telling Jenny I had gotten my dad a gift card to a massage that he'd never used, and then she told me-
Awkwafina: Yeah, that's a hard one.
Ramy: No, but then she goes to me, she was like, “Oh, my God. I got them a massage, and then three years later they gifted it back.”
Awkwafina: Oh, my god.
Ramy: Like, go get a massage.
Awkwafina: That's a such an Asian... No, it is such an Asian thing.
Ramy: It's so funny to me.
Awkwafina: You know what? There was one year where my grandma was like, “If you guys are going to get me gifts, just give me cold, hard cash.”
Ramy: That's amazing.
Awkwafina: She literally said... because she is sick of the junk, so it's like, “If you're going to spend $5 on slippers for me, just give me the cash, because I don't wear slippers, and you guys are projecting your ideals of what old woman should dress like,” because she would always get an apron that's like, “I'm the boss grandma,” and she's like, “It's so ugly. I would never wear this,” and then she'd get these old lady slippers. She's like, “Who would wear these disgusting slippers?”
Ramy: Yeah, I never know what to do.
Awkwafina: Just give them cash.
Ramy: Just money, right?
Awkwafina: Yeah, just give them money.
Ramy: Then they just give you cash, and it's kind of... We're just giving money back.
Awkwafina: And it's going to be the same cash.
Ramy: It's the same amount of cash.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Ramy: I feel like I'm at this place where I'm trying to get my parents to embrace their hobbies, kind of like, “Hey, you don't have to raise us.”
Awkwafina: Yep, that's also... We've tried so hard with my grandma, dude.
Ramy: You could do a thing.
Awkwafina: It's like, if you want to make a grand gesture, like, “Dad, I want to get you... I'll get you a used car from CarMax,” and he's like, “Man, I don't want that car. It's ugly.” You drive out on the lot and it has a bow tie on it, and he's like, “But why is it so ugly? I'm not going to ride in that thing. I got to go. Bye.”
Ramy: Did you try to give him a car?
Awkwafina: No, no, but I feel like that's what would happen.
Ramy: Oh, absolutely.
Awkwafina: If I was like, “Grandma, do you want a new TV,” and she was like, “No, what am I going to do with a new TV?” They don't want it.
Ramy: Yeah. It's dumb that you would even suggest it.
Awkwafina: Yeah, they get mad at you. They don't talk to you for three years. Yeah.
Ramy: The one I have works. Why would I-
Awkwafina: How dare you get me another iPad Mini because I'm using one from 2007, and it's-
Ramy: My grandpa actually will always take an iPad upgrade.
Awkwafina: That's great. That's cute. I love giving gifts to people who are happy when they get them, and not uncomfortable and aren't like... Well, my family at least, I don't want my grandma to be like, “No, don't do that for me.”
Ramy: No, of course.
Awkwafina: I want her to be like, “Oh, my God, this is awesome. I needed this. Thank you,” but it'll never happen.
Ramy: But I think there's also... I always feel this guilt, though, of almost as if they don't want to have a gift or accept a gift because they're like, “No, but we have so much here, and we should send stuff back home.”
Awkwafina: And also like, “Haven't we taught you to save? Why are you out here buying me a Bath & Body Works gift set with lotions and...”
Ramy: I think our generation's kind of, “Well, no. Money is meant to be spent.”
Awkwafina: Exactly. Exactly.
Ramy: Our parents are like, “No, we could send it back home.” I mean, that was so much of growing up too, was, “Let's send stuff back home.”
Awkwafina: Cash, dude. Yeah.
Ramy: We got to send stuff back home, or we also... Vacations, every vacation we're going to go to Egypt.
Awkwafina: Yeah, that's awesome. That's great.
Ramy: I remember one year we went to Disney, and I could tell, my dad the whole time was kind of like, “We could've been in Egypt.” You know how you can just see it?
Ramy: He's like, “There's no family here. What are we doing?”
Awkwafina: I mean, yeah, if you go to Disney when the kids are over 20, and it's like, “What am I doing here?” No, I'm kidding.
Ramy: Yeah. We were younger. Disney as an adult is way better than as a kid, in my opinion.
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah.
Ramy: When is the last time you went?
Awkwafina: I actually was trying to go soon to Harry Potter.
Ramy: Oh, man.
Ramy: I want to go so bad.
Awkwafina: Yeah. I heard it's cool.
Ramy: Where is that? Is that at Universal or Disney?
Awkwafina: Universal, yeah.
Ramy: It's Universal? I want to go to that so bad.
Awkwafina: I want to go.
Ramy: I really just always wanted to go get my own wand. I'm really curious what the wand experience is like there because-
Awkwafina: I mean, it's like a crooked stick.
Ramy: No, no. There's so much more to it. It's so deep.
Awkwafina: I mean, couldn't you whittle it down and then polish it, put some... sand it a little bit?
Ramy: No. I'd like to pay an inordinate amount of money to just say that I did it there.
Awkwafina: I would put a varnish on a stick and... Yeah.
Ramy: That's the immigrant mom in you. It's like, “We could just get a stick.” I'm kidding.
Awkwafina: I just got us a whole stick, and I have varnish, and we're going to sand it.
Ramy: We're not going to go to Orlando to pay $60 for some guy... We have a tree in the back. I'll tell you what house you're in. If Harry Potter World existed when I was a kid, my dad just would've been like, “Yeah, you are a Gryffindor. We're not going.” I just remember reading those, and it got me into reading, which at the time, I-
Awkwafina: Yeah. I remember when it came out. It blew my mind. Well, it blew everyone's mind.
Ramy: Yeah. I was like, oh, wait, I actually like reading, and it got me to read. I used to read more. Do you read now?
Awkwafina: My favorite book is... Have you ever read Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, or his short-
Ramy: Oh, my god. No.
Awkwafina: You've never read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or any of his short stories or any of that?
Ramy: I've read some of his short stories. Yeah, yeah. I didn't read that one, though.
Awkwafina: Oh, man. He's so good.
Ramy: Yeah. No, Murakami's great. I read Men Without Women, which is awesome. I mean, that-
Awkwafina: I haven't read that one.
Ramy: Oh, there's really good short stories in there.
Awkwafina: Oh, cool.
Ramy: Yeah. That I was really excited to buy, and then I've also been trying to read poetry and stuff just to have stuff to text women, just to kind of-
Awkwafina: Yeah, because women love that. Yeah.
Ramy: Women love poetry.
Awkwafina: Oh, yeah, for sure.
Ramy: You just send over a little-
Awkwafina: They love text messages of...
Ramy: Send over some Rumi verses. You know?
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah. They love that, man. Keep doing that. Yeah. Good. Yeah.
Ramy: You think that's a good move?
Awkwafina: I think the next step is just rerecording the poetry onto a voice note, and then sending a GIF with it.
Ramy: What would you do if a guy sent you poems? Has that happened?
Awkwafina: Yeah, maybe once, and it's never happened again. I made damn sure of that, because it's like... Well, one time I think... It wasn't a little verse. Maybe a little verse is cute. It's still a little cringey, but maybe it could be cute depending on how you do it. But this one guy sent me... It was like this. It was like The Odyssey, but a poem, and it was like, okay, so this is not an active cringey romance. You're a psychopath. That's what's going-
Ramy: And it was one he had written?
Awkwafina: It was like, ramble, ramble. It was in the middle of the night, and it was so long. None of it made sense. You could read that and maybe find the beauty out of it, but I couldn't even understand it at that point, so make sure it's not too vague, I guess. Send a limerick. Girls would love a limerick.
Ramy: I will sometimes send a couple verses, and never stuff that I wrote. It's always something else. I'd be like-
Awkwafina: That's okay.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah. I'm not trying to open mic it on a text thread.
Awkwafina: I can see that being endearing if the girl then reciprocates it. You know?
Ramy: Yeah. I would send over a little poem, be like, “What did you see in this,” and see what happens.
Awkwafina: Oh, okay. Well, that's okay.
Ramy: It'd kind of spark a little conversation. You can be like, “Hey, I was thinking about... I'm curious what your thoughts are on this.”
Awkwafina: All right. Okay, but still a little... but that's fine.
Ramy: It doesn't work. No, it doesn't work. To me-
Awkwafina: I want to perfect this. We should talk about this. We should perfect it.
Ramy: That to me is better than sending a meme, is sending poetry that has got a lot of though put in.
Awkwafina: That's true, but maybe poetry was the original meme.
Ramy: Because memes are-
Awkwafina: It's poetry, man.
Ramy: Memes are really thoughtful.
Awkwafina: They are because it's like a brainwork.
Ramy: It is an art form. I really do think that what a meme can do with text and an expression through and photo and all of that is kind of its own thing. I actually like it more than a lot of standup comedy. A lot of times, I look at a meme, and I'm like, this has more of a clear point of view than the guy I watched for 20 minutes last night.
Awkwafina: Right, right, right. Well, yeah, and I think memes are also a part of this larger movement of this desperate want for real humor, things that everyone can get, not extremely broad, but very specific, but broad out that... You know?
Awkwafina: I love that. It's great, just taking things that are so true... Half the memes I read are just quotes of, “Oh, my God, that is so true.” That's my reaction to every meme, and then just the way that they capture animals-
Ramy: Oh, that's the best.
Awkwafina: I have this picture of this koala. He looks so high, and there's almost a sexual aspect to it. He just has a eucalyptus, and he has one eye shut.
Ramy: Oh, man. Koala be fucking. They're out there.
Awkwafina: Have you ever seen a wet koala?
Ramy: They're fucking there.
Awkwafina: Have you seen a wet one?
Ramy: No. What's the difference?
Awkwafina: Oh, my god.
Ramy: Is it like straight out the shower?
Awkwafina: It's a mess. It's zero to 8,000.
Ramy: I could see that. I could see the hair is really frizzed out.
Awkwafina: They're scary.
Ramy: A wet koala.
Awkwafina: Find him a wet koala real quick.
Ramy: Yeah, do a-
Awkwafina: No, they're not cool, dude. They're scary looking.
Ramy: Oh, my god. It kind of looks like a-
Awkwafina: Let me see.
Ramy: It almost looks like a bear or a wolf or something.
Awkwafina: Let me see. Oh. Well, he looks agitated that he was wet.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah.
Awkwafina: He didn't want to be wet in that moment, and he got caught in a storm. Oh, my god. Look at this guy.
Ramy: As a kid, I did always think it would be cool to have a koala or a monkey or something, like a pet.
Awkwafina: It would be, because... Yeah. Did you grow up... Yeah. We grew up in America, so it's like, obviously. Yeah.
Ramy: Do you think that that's cool?
Awkwafina: But then you go to Asia, and you meet monkeys, and you're like, oh, my god, they're not mythical beasts. These are real animals that really exist, and they have human expressions, and then they steal your iPhone.
Ramy: That's so funny. That's so funny.
Awkwafina: The monkeys that I encountered, this was in Kuala Lumpur at the Batu Caves, and it's known for these monkeys that hang out. It's like these big steps up.
Ramy: Pickpocketer monkeys.
Awkwafina: They take your wallet and your phone. They figured this out on their... No human taught them this. They taught themselves, they take your wallet and your phone, and then they'll only give it back if you throw them your food.
Awkwafina: So, when you throw them the food, they'll throw you back your wallet because they know that you won't freak out if they... but they know that you'll freak out with the phone or wallet, or brand new bag of-
Ramy: That's so crazy.
Awkwafina: They're smart, and it ruined... Don't meet your heroes. You know what I mean? As they say, don't meet your heroes.
Ramy: They're so smart that they're like, “That's an Android. I'm not even going to steal that.”
Awkwafina: Yeah, but they're mischievous. You know the Chinese Monkey Man? He's like the sign of mischief, and he has the makeup, but it's based on truth.
Ramy: Yeah, it's so true. I didn't know any monkeys, so I wanted one.
Awkwafina: Did you have pets?
Ramy: I wonder if there's somewhere where there's someone being like, “Oh, I really want a New York City pigeon.” I wonder if that's... or a New York rat would be a great-
Awkwafina: My friend went to some country, and they had a little zoo in the hotel, and there were all these animals, exotic birds and beautiful creatures, and then the manager of the zoo comes in, is like, “No, guys. You can't believe what we just got in.” So, they go, and it's a squirrel. It was just a squirrel, but they had never seen them before. They were like, “Oh, my God, its tail.” That's awesome, dude.
Ramy: Oh, my god. In high school, my best friend, he would feed this squirrel crunchy peanut butter.
Awkwafina: They're loyal. He was a squirrel whisperer. Some humans have that ability.
Ramy: Yeah, and so it was amazing.
Awkwafina: He could beckon them, and they would come to him.
Ramy: Well, the squirrel would just come every day to his house, and his name was Squeaky, and he would come-
Awkwafina: Oh, that's so cute.
Ramy: ... and we'd feed him, and we'd see him, and we had to do a project for photo, and he has this really amazing just beautiful photo of Squeaky because he was able to get Squeaky to kind of hang out and pose-
Awkwafina: Oh, my god.
Ramy: ... and then Hamad went to Lebanon with his family for three weeks, and Squeaky had gone through the lining of a window from outside to try and get into the house, and there was a window slightly open, and Squeaky went into the house and messed it up.
Awkwafina: And he was watching his Netflix account, he was using his Netflix account, bringing girls to his bed. He's like, “Why did you have to do it in my bed, Squeaky?”
Ramy: Squeaky got so upset.
Awkwafina: Yeah, ate all the leftovers.
Ramy: Pure rampage.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Oh, my god. That's awesome.
Ramy: Yeah. He had that ability, and-
Awkwafina: It's a gift.
Ramy: I do think there are people who have it.
Awkwafina: I've seen it. I've seen people.
Ramy: We had a dog, which was very hard-fought to get because it's like-
Awkwafina: Yeah, Asian parents don't like... Some do. Some love dogs, and I'm like, man, my family did not like animals, man.
Ramy: Yeah. Arabs, same thing. I mean, it's kind of logical on a level. Animals are-
Awkwafina: It is. It's more work for them.
Awkwafina: It's like getting an unnecessary baby in their eyes.
Ramy: More work. It's not like they're the cleanest and all of that.
Awkwafina: Because you know that talk you have with the seven-year-olds, they're like, “I'll walk it every day,” and it's like, “No, you're not.” It's like, “I'll take care of it.” It's like, “No, you won't.” Yeah.
Ramy: My dad made me do a book report about golden retrievers, because I really wanted one, and so I had to give it to him. It was like five, six pages.
Awkwafina: Oh, I would've done that so quick of that was the only condition to get a dog.
Ramy: Five, six pages.
Awkwafina: Oh, I would've went and studied them in their natural habitat for 10 years of my life, dude.
Ramy: I feel like I copy/pasted most of it. I do feel-
Awkwafina: Oh, come on.
Ramy: I can't remember what I did, and I was like, he's not going to check. He's not going to know that I-
Awkwafina: And he did, didn't he?
Ramy: I mean, I think he knew. Parents always know. They know what you don't think they know, and so he-
Awkwafina: I would've loved to have been challenged like that as a kid. That's awesome.
Ramy: Oh, my dad made me do that for everything.
Awkwafina: Your dad sounds really cool.
Ramy: No, for everything. We really got into the Pokemon card phase, and my dad was like-
Awkwafina: Oh, that's awesome.
Ramy: ... "Well, I want you to write, what are these Pokemon, what do they do."
Awkwafina: Oh, that's great.
Ramy: I remember typing up this thing that was like, "Well, Pikachu has electricity attributes, which..." I walk talking about-
Awkwafina: Yeah. You were serious about it, bro.
Ramy: I was talking about how it's grounded in the earth and-
Awkwafina: But I think he loves that. He probably loved that about you, that you were interested in things. I think that's... If I ever become a parent, I would want my kid to be like... I just wouldn't want them to be apathetic to everything. You know?
Awkwafina: I want them to have opinions on stuff. I think that's great.
Ramy: You have siblings?
Awkwafina: No, I'm an only child, yeah, only child.
Ramy: Only child, oh, cool.
Awkwafina: Being an only child is like the equivalent of being those crazy people that live alone. They say they walk around naked all the time. They're in their own thoughts. That's what an only child is. You're just basically a crazy person just by yourself.
Ramy: Yeah, but did your parents have you plugged into the social scene? I mean, were you hanging out a lot, or did you feel like you had a lot of alone time as a kid?
Awkwafina: No. Nope. I was alone a lot. I would have play dates sometimes, but I always felt like I was so desperate for them. I was like, "Please come. I haven't had any company."
Ramy: Where in New York were you?
Awkwafina: I grew up in Queens.
Ramy: In Queens. Where?
Awkwafina: Forest Hills, Rego Park.
Ramy: That's insane. That's literally... So, I was born in Forest Hills, and then-
Awkwafina: No way. Where?
Ramy: Yeah. We lived... Well, my grandparents now are in Rego Park.
Awkwafina: Yeah, sure.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah.
Awkwafina: Dude, that's awesome. Hell yeah.
Ramy: Yeah. Isn't that crazy? Isn't that crazy?
Awkwafina: Hell yeah, man.
Ramy: Right off Queens Boulevard.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Me, too. Yeah. That's where-
Ramy: Yeah, right off Queens Boulevards. That's where my-
Awkwafina: Yep. 67th Avenue, or-
Ramy: Yeah, right there, right off the R.
Awkwafina: Yep, the R, and the V, and the M.
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah.
Ramy: That's so funny.
Awkwafina: That's my stop, dude. Hell yeah.
Ramy: Yeah. They're right there by... They've redone that whole area now. There's a Target and a Marshalls and all this stuff. There's that big-
Awkwafina: That big Century 21.
Ramy: That big Century 21 thing. So, my grandparents live right behind that thing.
Awkwafina: Oh, that's awesome. Okay. That's like Lefrak City, kind of. Right?
Ramy: Yes, Lefrak City. Exactly.
Awkwafina: But a little bit... No. Actually, that's a little bit-
Ramy: It's right near it. Yeah. It's like Park City or something like that.
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah.
Awkwafina: What hospital were you born at?
Ramy: I don't know. I think it was the one in Hempstead, which is right by there.
Awkwafina: Oh, okay. I was born in Stony Brook.
Ramy: Oh, Stony Brook. Wow.
Awkwafina: Man, dude. That's awesome.
Awkwafina: Where'd you grow up?
Ramy: So, we moved to Jersey when I was seven.
Awkwafina: Oh, okay. Sweet. So, you're an East Coaster.
Awkwafina: Oh, okay. Nice.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ramy: Yeah, we moved to Jersey when I was seven, but yeah, so much of our life and time we'd be in Queens with my grandparents and stuff, because-
Awkwafina: Oh, that's great.
Ramy: ... my grandparents-
Awkwafina: They're still there?
Ramy: Yeah, they're still there.
Awkwafina: Oh, that's awesome.
Ramy: Yeah. I was just there two weeks ago. Yeah.
Awkwafina: That's great.
Ramy: I was just there two weeks ago.
Awkwafina: That's so cool, man. I miss that area. I haven't been there in a minute.
Ramy: Is your family there still?
Awkwafina: My dad still lives there, yeah.
Ramy: Your dad's there, yeah.
Awkwafina: Yeah. My grandma moved, but yeah.
Ramy: You just see all different types of families, which is just the crazy-
Awkwafina: But that's the thing. I grew up in a classroom where I didn't understand xenophobia because that's... I think that that's the weird thing about growing up in New York that I think the people don't get, is literally how diverse it is. I mean, Queens is obviously the move diverse borough in terms of languages spoken and regionalities there, but also, there's no buffer zone. There's not this is like a little China Town, this is a Korea Town. It's all together.
Ramy: Everything spills over.
Awkwafina: Yeah. Yeah.
Ramy: Did you guys shop at CTown?
Awkwafina: Oh, hell yeah, dude. That one on Queens Boulevard?
Awkwafina: Yeah. There's a 7-Eleven up the block. We go there. I hang out with the kids at park, man.
Ramy: Dude, CTown is-
Awkwafina: I loved off Yellowstone.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, man.
Awkwafina: Oh, that's great. That's so cool. That's awesome, dude. I feel like I know you now. It's great.
Ramy: You know the... Yeah.
Awkwafina: It's nice to meet other people that are familiar... No one knows where Rego Park is, dude.
Ramy: I know. I know. Anyone who's been to a CTown is... I'm like, all right, cool. The interesting thing about Rego Park, too, is you feel the generations more, more there than any other places. You really see a lot of older people walking around.
Awkwafina: Yeah. A lot of people retire there. I mean, there's a joke about an area that I come from that's like, everyone has an old aunt there. I think that you could imagine what it must've been like in the '50s, but I think since then, it's interesting, that area, because it's bordered by all these other areas that are very, very diverse in terms of Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, but Rego Park, Forest Hills, that specific area, it's an anomaly. Yeah.
Ramy: Really, it's-
Awkwafina: Because they think you're from Forest Hills Gardens when you say you're from Forest Hills, which is that really small cul-de-sac of mansion, but it's like, "No, dude. I live that shitty-ass building off of Queen's Boulevard."
Ramy: I know.
Awkwafina: I'm not from the Gardens. Yeah.
Ramy: I think the school I went to when I was a kid before we went to Jersey was PS 163 or something like that.
Awkwafina: Or 196?
Ramy: Maybe it was 196.
Awkwafina: Or 175?
Ramy: I think it was 175.
Awkwafina: PS 175 on Yellowstone, right?
Ramy: Yeah. I think that's where I was until we went to Jersey in first grade.
Awkwafina: I went to PS 196, but I should've went to 175.
Awkwafina: But my mom passed away when I was about that age, and she really wanted me to go to PS 196.
Awkwafina: I think that she knew some people with kids there, and she knew some of the teachers there, and she was kind of a tiger mom, I think. You know?
Ramy: Right, right, right.
Awkwafina: So, they wouldn't let me in, and so my dad... We'd just lost my mom, and I remember my dad had this breakdown in the office in front of everybody, in front of the principal, all my... and he literally was like, "I just lost my wife. This was here dying wish," and they were like, "All right."
Awkwafina: Yeah. "We'll put her in."
Ramy: Were you raised mostly by your dad and grandma then?
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah. Then when did you leave Queens?
Awkwafina: When I was like 25 or something.
Awkwafina: I've lived at home for a long time, dude, but I have a lot friends from Queens that are Asian that live at home still, and it's not the traditional relationship that you would think in terms of the son living in the basement that's like, "Mom, I want a sandwich." I know people that avidly, they work nine-to-fives, and they'll put the money back into their house. I think that's-
Ramy: Yeah. That's what my sister does. I feel like if I didn't start working as early as I did, I would've been home for a while.
Awkwafina: Yeah, because I think with... That's what people don't understand. Grandmas live with you. The reverence and the understanding, I feel like that's another aspect of it.
Ramy: My friend Mona has this really funny standup joke where she was like, "White people invented AAA," or she was like, "If my dad's car breaks down, I go to the side of the read. We're not calling someone. We take care of each other."
Awkwafina: Right, right, right.
Ramy: I always think about that joke, because it's just less common, even in Cairo. I mean, if there are circumstances where people aren't alive or aren't around, of course you put someone in a home or something like that, but the idea that everyone would be around and alive and bouncing around and not away for work or anything like that, and you would then put your elder in a... That is something that in my family, I think culturally is not really fathomable. It's like, no, no, we take care of each other.
Awkwafina: Then I think that culture is something that is, or tradition, rather, practices like traditional practices, that they come from what you're used to doing. Right?
Awkwafina: So, it's hard for other people that aren't Asian to understand, but we do, which also ties back really well to The Farewell. I struggled with that. I don't know what the right answer is, and I think that the confusion that Billy goes through, that was really real because I was searching for understanding of it, and then I think that I understand them.
Ramy: Yeah. No. I mean, it's-
Awkwafina: Would you do that? Would you do it, The Farewell?
Ramy: The Farewell? Oh. I don't think so.
Awkwafina: Do you think that your parents know about that tradition?
Ramy: No. I think for us, I think it's easier to talk about sickness. It's the same thing where it's like, politics, sickness, all these things, a really grave situation, oh, yeah, yeah, let's talk about that, but if it's like, "Hey, I'm dating someone," or, "Hey, there's this small emotion," then it's like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
Awkwafina: Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. Yeah.
Ramy: That's cancer. The little microcosm of a thing is like... but cancer's like, "Oh, cool. All right. We can pray on this. We could talk about it. Let's dig into it. This is a big thing that..."
Awkwafina: Yeah. I think it's how you deal with news like that, and I think that in general you just don't... I don't want to share my sex life with my family.
Ramy: No, of course. Yeah.
Ramy: You're not trying to open that up, because even just little smaller emotions and smaller experiences, even when you're disappointed in someone, angry in someone, sad, this and that, to try and find nuance in that, it feels, a lot of the times, like it's easier to talk about cancer, because cancer is this thing that came from the outsider that we didn't cause, per se, or maybe we did, but it feels so out of our control-
Awkwafina: That's really interesting. Yeah.
Ramy: ... and it's kind of like, oh, cool. It's almost like politics, where it's like, well, this thing's... Let's talk about that. Let's go at that. But then when it's interpersonal, that's the stuff that feels-
Awkwafina: That's hard.
Ramy: ... more difficult.
Awkwafina: More awkward, yeah.
Ramy: I find culturally, and definitely within my family, my family's really good at dealing with big events and big things. Everyone keeps cool, and if I got into some serious trouble, the first people I would call would be my parents. They would not-
Awkwafina: Yeah. Me, too.
Ramy: They would not turn their back on me at all, at all.
Awkwafina: Yeah, exactly.
Ramy: But God forbid I tell them I paid a few bills late. That would be a huge breakdown, and, "How could you do this!" but if it was like, "Hey, I crashed my car," or, "I did this and that. I lost all my money," big, then-
Awkwafina: Oh, I could hide that. That's my own burden.
Ramy: No, no. I could tell them that, though. If I had bankrupted myself, I could tell them that.
Awkwafina: I would tell them years later. Well, no, because one time I was driving my dad's Nissan Ultima, and I sideswiped a pole or something, and the mirror came off, and I didn't tell him I did it, and he blamed it on the guys that worked at the carwash, so he went to the carwash and threw a shit fit there, and then it wasn't until he was going in on these poor guys... It wasn't even like... He just came in, he was like, "I know the mirror's here." It was like a big mystery to him, and I let it play out, and I felt so guilty that it was like a TV show. While he was confronting them, they were like, "We don't know what you're talking about. You're a crazy person," I was like, "I did it." He was so... He didn't talk to me for eight years. No, no. He was so mad, dude.
Awkwafina: Oh, my god. Yeah, never again.
Ramy: Was that the most caught you've felt?
Awkwafina: When I first got my driver's license, yeah.
Ramy: But in New York, I feel like people don't drive that much.
Awkwafina: But in Queens, though.
Ramy: Queens, yeah, you got a car.
Awkwafina: Yeah, you can have a car in Queens because it's really big.
Ramy: The parking is so... I remember people put-
Awkwafina: Alternate side, but also, Queens is all crowbars on the wheels.
Ramy: Oh, yeah.
Awkwafina: Do you know how many radios we've lost, dude?
Awkwafina: My dad got into a phase where he got paranoid schizophrenic, and he got the kind of radio that you can take out with you when you-
Ramy: Take out, yeah.
Awkwafina: ... and he had a little case for it. Oh, my god, dude. Do you know how many times our Volvo got broken into? We had one of those old Volvos, all the time.
Ramy: Yeah. I remember at my grandparents', our car would always get broken into, but then also, I went to college in Newark, and then my car would get broken into a bunch there, too.
Awkwafina: Oh, man.
Ramy: You just kind of... I think I've, even to this day now in LA, I've built kind of a habit of when I'm leaving my car, there's almost this part in the back of my head where I'm like, well, this might be the last time I see it.
Awkwafina: Yeah, that's true.
Ramy: I'm kind of parting with it.
Awkwafina: Oh, man.
Ramy: I'm like, well, I got everything that I need. I might not... It's kind of beautiful. There's no sense of permanence of anything. It's kind of like, okay, this is where we're at with it.
Awkwafina: Yeah. That's a good way to live, though, sometimes. I don't know.
Ramy: Live like your car might be broken into.
Awkwafina: Yeah, at any given time, and you don't have a phone to Uber back because it's dead. Yeah.
Ramy: What car you driving? You got a Mustang?
Awkwafina: No. No, I don't. I got a used 2015 car.
Ramy: Oh, that's the best.
Awkwafina: Yeah, yeah.
Ramy: Oh, that's the best. When I got here, I got a lease, a Prius, and had it for a couple years, and then-
Awkwafina: I'm still curious as to what's better, because I have people that are telling me leasing is better, then other people are like, "Dude, just buy a..."
Ramy: I don't know. I don't know. I mean, I got this lease, and then I turned it in, and I remember I was going away for a couple weeks, and so I turned it in, and I was like, okay, when I come back I'm going to lease another car, and then I just didn't have a car for like four years.
Awkwafina: You just procrastinated it?
Ramy: Yeah. I was just like, "Oh, I'll do..." Then I just-
Awkwafina: You just Uber'd?
Ramy: I would just Uber.
Awkwafina: In LA, you mean, not in New York?
Ramy: In LA.
Awkwafina: Okay. Yeah.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, in LA. I would just kind of Uber, and also, so many of my friends who also do standup are always touring, and they'll go away for weeks at a time, and so I'd be like-
Awkwafina: Right, and you could use their car.
Ramy: Yeah. I'd be like, "Hey, I'll drop you off at the airport and pick you up.”
Awkwafina: Oh, my god. Hell yeah. That's all you need to say. Oh, hell yeah.
Ramy: Yeah. So, I became this car service for a while where people would be like... My street, also-
Awkwafina: A ride to the airport, no friend love you that much in LA.
Ramy: I know, and they're like-
Awkwafina: No friends loves you that much.
Ramy: My street had no parking regulations, so-
Awkwafina: Oh, my god. That's awesome.
Ramy: Yeah. Well, there was a point where I had three cars because I had just took other friends.
Awkwafina: Because you were just hustling all your friends' car? Yeah, okay. Yeah.
Ramy: There was a period of two months where I was like, all right. Well, I got-
Awkwafina: That's awesome. You're like-
Ramy: ... my one friend's Mercedes-
Awkwafina: That's awesome.
Ramy: ... I've got my other friend's Honda, and they're all parked on my street, and I was kind of this-
Awkwafina: I refuse to drive anyone else's car. I refuse because I don't want to do anything to mess it up.
Ramy: No, I get it.
Awkwafina: I would feel so bad.
Ramy: No, and there were definitely little... I mean, I had gotten myself insured, and I was always kind of like-
Awkwafina: Oh, good. Good, good.
Ramy: ... I don't want to deal with... What if something happens? I did that for a couple years, though.
Awkwafina: Did you get a new car, or when you finally did?
Ramy: No. I got an '84 Benz. It's a very impractical-
Awkwafina: Hell yeah, dude. That's tight. Hell yeah, dude.
Ramy: It's so impractical.
Awkwafina: Does it break down on the freeway constantly?
Ramy: I just keep having to fix things.
Awkwafina: The top gets stuck midway?
Ramy: Oh, absolutely. I keep having to fix things, but I really don't feel-
Awkwafina: But are you into remodeling, because-
Ramy: I mean, there was one car I always wanted, which was this type of Benz-
Awkwafina: Then you know what? That's all you need to know. That's it. That's it.
Ramy: I have a watch that's the only watch I ever wanted. It's just this gold... I think because I saw-
Awkwafina: What is that, a... Oh, that's nice.
Ramy: That's a Seamaster. It's OMEGA... It was just because I saw Malcolm X wearing it, and I was like, I want the Malcolm X watch.
Awkwafina: That's so tight, dude.
Ramy: There was a car that I liked, and that's it, and then I'm like, I'm not into those things, into cars or watches or whatever. That's why for so many years I was like, I don't really want one or need one or whatever, and then I finally had the-
Awkwafina: There you go, dude.
Ramy: Then I committed, but the one I committed to, it's constantly [crosstalk 00:43:14]
Awkwafina: I want to see a picture of it.
Ramy: I'll show it to you.
Awkwafina: Is it like one of those big, long ones, or like a boat one, or-
Ramy: It's kind of long. It's a two-door. It's a two-door, a cream color.
Awkwafina: Oh, my god. That's tight, dude.
Ramy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's funny too because-
Awkwafina: Yeah, there you go.
Ramy: ... it reminds me very much of the cars in the Middle East. My dad got into it, and he was kind of like, "I feel like we're in Egypt," and I was like, "Yeah."
Awkwafina: Well, because he was alive in 1984 and was like, "This was the cars that I literally used to drive in 1984."
Ramy: But even you go to Egypt now, and it's like there's a bunch of those, and so-
Awkwafina: Yeah, that's tight. That's awesome.
Ramy: ... I think it's me romanticizing about being there on some level. I'm like, all right, I'm going to get this old vibe.
Awkwafina: Yeah, and you know what? That's great. That's awesome. Yeah.
Ramy: Do you go to see your family overseas often, or is anyone hanging there, or-
Awkwafina: No one's really left there.
Ramy: No one's there, yeah.
Awkwafina: Just my grandma's, a couple distance cousins are there, but-
Ramy: A couple distant people, okay. So, when you went to go shoot, you hadn't been for a bit?
Awkwafina: Yeah, I hadn't been to... I only went through the Beijing Airport. I wasn't even able to go to Beijing, but it was really incredible to be back there, because when I had left there, I was so confused about my life, and I was essentially submitting myself to a life of just constant letdowns of myself. Then I had to go to what, what am I coming back to? So, it was really cool to go back, shooting a movie there. That just felt really awesome.
Ramy: It's so cool.
Awkwafina: It's always a personal journey when you go back home. Right? Do you feel that?
Ramy: Yeah. No, you do.
Awkwafina: You just think a lot.
Ramy: You think a lot about yourself, and you think a lot about... Something struck me. My friend Alzhar had asked me this question that kind of blew my mind. He was like, "You know the name of your grandpa?" I was like, "Yeah," and then he was like, "Do you know the name of your grandpa's grandpa," and I was like, I have no idea, and it's not even that far back, and you just... There's so much that we just don't know.
Awkwafina: Then also, fascination when you do find out what happened and the history and stuff, because I think everyone wants to know that. I don't think any kid is that disconnected from their family that there's no something that lights up when they hear about what their family did back in the day, and also, just what you're doing is really awesome, too.
Ramy: Oh, thanks.
Awkwafina: So, you're awesome.
Ramy: It's fun to just start connecting those dots. Any time you watch these things that do that, that's what it did so well, what Farewell did, and it's you're, "Oh, cool. We're connecting the dots," and it's really-
Awkwafina: It's evolving. It's always evolving. I think the stories that we're able to tell now we can tell on a more universal level, but Lulu always makes this comparison about this universality through specificity. That's where the magic is, man. You do it, too. It's great.
Ramy: Does your dad tell us stories about the past a lot? Have you been able to get him to-
Awkwafina: No. No. He was just a normal... What was he going to tell me about, being in the '70s, going to a Townes Van Zandt concert? What is he going to tell me about? My grandma's the one with the-
Ramy: Does she get into it with you?
Awkwafina: Oh, she goes morbid, morbid. She used to work in a morgue, and there was a coal miner that came in, and he had been crushed, and she was all alone in the middle of the night, and he had farted, and she thought that she was going to die. She's like, "I'd never been so scared from a fart," and it was like... She was a bit morbid, but yeah.
Ramy: That's really funny.
Awkwafina: It's important to know those stories.
Ramy: That's a really funny scene.
Ramy: I want to do a podcast with my grandpa like this.
Awkwafina: You need to. He sounds great.
Ramy: Well, just to see where it would go.
Awkwafina: Dude, you should. You should.
Ramy: Yeah. I'm like, what would happen if I was just like, "Hey, we're going to..."
Awkwafina: Oh, my god, just to ask him to tell stories. Yeah.
Ramy: But if we do it in Rego Park, you can come, and we'll do it.
Awkwafina: Oh, my god, yes.
Ramy: We'll both interview him.
Awkwafina: I'm so down. I'd love to meet them. Yeah. Cool.
Ramy: This was really fun.
Awkwafina: Yeah, this was fun.
Ramy: Really fun. Should we end on a Rumi poem verse?
Awkwafina: I don't know.
Ramy: No, I don't think...