Hasan Minhaj says “all my stand-up stories are based on events that happened to me” after a new profile in The New Yorker discovers that some details in his onstage anecdotes, like those in his stand-up specials on Netflix, may be fabricated.
Stories that The New Yorker What he discovered didn’t necessarily happen when he presented them, including jokes about one of his children and their possible exposure to anthrax and an alleged interaction with police and an FBI informant at his family’s mosque when he was a teenager.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter respond The New Yorker story, Minhaj said, “All my stand-up stories are based on events that happened to me. Yes, I was rejected from prom because of my race. Yes, a letter with powder was sent to my apartment that almost hurt my daughter. Yes, I have had contact with law enforcement during the war on terror. Yes, I had varicose vein repair surgery so we could get pregnant. Yes, I roasted Jared Kushner in the face. I use the tools of stand-up comedy: hyperbole, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines to tell entertaining stories.”
“That is inherent to the art form,” he continued. “You wouldn’t go to a haunted house and say, ‘Why are these people lying to me?’ – The point is the ride. Stand-up is the same.”
Among the material he was accused of fabricating was an anecdote about an FBI intelligence that allegedly infiltrated the Sacramento-area mosque that Minhaj’s family attended in 2002, as well as claims that he and his daughter had been exposed to white powder in an envelope, forcing her release. taken to hospital.
He also reportedly shortened the amount of time between an attempted interview with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the country’s embassy in 2018 and the death of reporter Jamal Khashoggi, according to an unnamed person. Patriot Act producer and an email obtained by The New Yorker; as well as a high school rejection in a joke from his 2017 special Homecoming kingwhich allegedly resulted in a white childhood friend and the subject of the joke being harassed and harassed.
“Every story in my style is built around a grain of truth,” the comedian told the magazine in response to claims that he had made up material for his jokes, a statement he made after the subjects of those jokes denied that certain details of his memories were true. . “My comedy Arnold Palmer is seventy percent emotional truth – this happened – and then thirty percent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
Friday’s story details how Craig Monteilh, the subject of Minhaj’s alleged run-in with an FBI informant as a teenager, was imprisoned in 2002 and only began working for the FBI in 2006. He also told the magazine that he had never worked at the magazine. the Sacramento area. “I have no idea why he would do that,” Monteilh said in response to Minhaj’s joke about their interaction.
In his latest special The king’s jesterMinhaj detailed the responses and reactions Patriot Act jokes he made about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalism. Minhaj claimed he received a letter at his home containing a white powder, some of which landed on his daughter, causing her to be examined at a hospital.
According to The New Yorker, neither local hospitals nor the NYPD confirmed any account or report of the incident Minhaj describes. The outlet also claims Minhaj’s security guard at the time, Patriot Act Employees associated with the show’s security team and unnamed front desk and mailroom workers at the comedian’s former home could not recall an incident like the one Minhaj shared.
The comedian ultimately reveals in the special that the substance was not anthrax, and while speaking to the magazine, he said that his daughter had not been exposed to a white powder nor had she been hospitalized. The former Daily show correspondent added that both incidents were “fabricated”. The New Yorkerbut based on ’emotional truth’ and on experiences other than those he portrays in his material.
“I think ultimately I’m trying to highlight all those stories,” he said. “Building on what I think is a compelling argument.”
The comedian also defended his comedic approach, telling the magazine that he doesn’t believe he manipulates the audience, that the “punch line is worth the fictionalized premise” and that he avoids “pointless riffs” with his material, which is “grounded in truth .”
“I think the audience comes for the emotional rollercoaster ride,” he continued. “To the people who are like, ‘Yo, that’s way too crazy to happen,’ I don’t care because yeah, fuck yeah – that’s the point.”
When asked how his approach to comedy could impact a potential hosting run The Daily Show While talking about someone like Rep. George Santos, Minhaj reiterated his previous statements, telling the magazine, “the emotional truth comes first. The actual truth is secondary.”
THR has achieved The Daily Show for comment.