Baz Ashmawy: It was all down to his Mammy
50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy was awarded an International Emmy last night
How brilliant is it that an Irish Mammy has just won an international Emmy?
And how unlikely is it that she has won one for staring deadly Burmese pythons in the eye, rubbing shoulders with deadlier Filipino drug lords, wrestling alligators and flying through the eye of tornadoes on terrifyingly flimsy sea planes all in the name of fun.
Nancy Ashmawy is 70-years-old and a retired nurse from Dublin who has not just broken the mould of the Irish Mammy, she has pulverised it with a machine gun and scattered its tiny shards across the Nevada dessert while leaping from a tiny plane and pulling the rip cord on her parachute.
When 50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy first aired on Sky One last autumn, its undoubted star was her affable son Baz. And he still is a star of the programme, but not the only one. Or maybe not even the brightest one, a fact he graciously acknowledged after the programme’s Emmy win was announced at a stellar ceremony in New York City on Monday night.
“She put it very well, she said as soon as they mentioned that 50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy was the one that won, she said she didn’t remember anything, that it was like floating,” he told Ryan Tubridy the morning after.
“Then we went up onto the stage and said words and spoke to a crowd of very sophisticated television people from all around the world, and she nailed it, I’m just so proud of her to be honest.”
On some levels the programme the pair make is both absurd and ridiculous. It is Jackass meets the Travel Show and sees Baz take his mammy on a series of daredevil adventures around the world.
He is all hyperactive and in your face gurning while he drags his poor mammy from pillar to post. At almost every step he exaggerates her fears for the delight of the watching audience. She is by turns terrified and unflappable.
But scratch the surface the teensiest bit and a programme which full of depth and warmth quickly emerges. The natural and good-natured interaction between mother and son is genuine and genuinely sweet. That goes some way to explaining why it has become Sky Television’s most successful non-scripted show and one which has sold into more than 100 countries all over the world.
Describing his mammy as “amazing” and “a complete inspiration.” Baz was pleasing humble after the win. He said his show - and he owns the format - was “the story of a mother and son and everyone has a mammy and we can all relate to it wherever we’re from. There’s a lot of luck goes into it as well. We could have easily lost it but we won tonight and we’re delighted.”
When he said neither he or Nancy were expecting to win it was clear he was telling the truth. And it was as clear he was telling the truth when he said it was all down to his Mammy.
“Its amazing result and Nancy played a blinder, she looked beautiful on my arm and then went and stole the show a little, which I’m a bit annoyed about, but it’s her Emmy.”