Comedian Hasan Minhaj accused of lying about his NorCal childhood | Albiseyler

Comedian Hasan Minhaj accused of lying about his NorCal childhood

Host Hasan Minhaj speaks during the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Santa Monica, California.

Kevin Winter/TNS

In Hasan Minhaj’s 2022 Netflix streaming special “The King’s Jester,” the Northern California-raised comedian spends 10 minutes telling a story from his childhood about a white undercover FBI agent who infiltrated his Sacramento-area mosque to track — and possibly catch — radicalized Muslims. The muscular “Brother Eric” became part of Minhaj’s circle of friends, which eventually led to Minhaj being put on the hood of a police car on suspicion of terrorism.

“I don’t know what your freshman year of high school was like, but did you ever have narc chicken biryani?” My jokes.

But according to a New Yorker article by Clare Malone posted last week Hasan himself doesn’t seem to have chicken biryani with any brother Eric. And the anecdote later in the special about his daughter opening a threatening letter filled with white powder and being rushed to the hospital also seems contrived.


The article continues below this advertisement

“All this white powder falls into the pram,” he said in the special. “And it falls on my daughter’s shoulder. Her neck, her cheeks. He stares at me. … We rush down to NYU, but this time we go through the ER. And as soon as they see the child, they tear off her clothes and carry her away.’

In the New Yorker article, Minhaj admits that some of the events described are untrue. For example, Malone found no evidence of a hospital visit. But Minhaj claims that the stories are rooted in events that actually happened. The anecdote about Brother Erik was inspired by a suspected undercover officer’s hard foul during a basketball game, and Minhaj actually received a letter filled with powder (it was nowhere near his daughter). The timeline of the anecdote regarding the visit to the Saudi embassy at the time of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing also appears to be fabricated.

“Every story in my style is built on a seed of truth,” Minhaj is quoted as saying in the article. “My Arnold Palmer comedy is seventy percent emotional truth—that’s what happened—and then thirty percent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”


The article continues below this advertisement

According to a post on social networks by New York Times reporter Kellen Browning, who attended the same school as Minhaj (Davis High), Browning tried to write an article about Minhaj’s lies for his high school newspaper. in interview for the Times in 2015, Minhaj called the whistleblowing attempt a “racist witch hunt”.

Many comedians are widely known to embellish anecdotes in their routines, but Minhaj has come under fire for the extent and nature of his falsehoods. In the special, these bits aren’t short bullet points, but rather long and complex stories, with Minhaj’s eyes often reddened with emotion. He has too drawn criticism about how his fabrications could challenge real stories of prejudice.

Minhaj has defended his former Netflix commentary show “The Patriot Act” as a distinct style of entertainment firmly rooted in reported truth. However, the New Yorker article also contained criticism of the show’s work environment, with three female employees threatening to sue over alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. The news comes with added resonance as Minhaj has emerged as a top contender to replace Trevor Noah as host of “The Daily Show.”


The article continues below this advertisement

In response to the article, Minhaj issued a statement Hollywood Reporter:

“All my standup stories are based on events that happened to me. Yes, I was turned down to prom because of my race. Yes, a letter was sent to my apartment with a powder that almost hurt my daughter. Yes, I had contact with law enforcement during the war on terror. Yes, I had varicocele surgery so we could get pregnant. Yes, I burned Jared Kushner in the face. I use the tools of standup comedy – hyperbole, changing names and places and compressing timelines – to tell funny stories.

“That’s an inherent part of the art form,” added Minhaj. “You wouldn’t go into a haunted house and say ‘Why are these people lying to me?’ — The bottom line is the ride. Standup is the same.”

Read the full New Yorker article here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *