The “thin blue line” refers to the brotherhood felt by many police officers.
It’s understandable, often necessary and occasionally leads to cops supporting bad cops with their silence.
Comedians have no such code, especially today.
Some accuse fellow comics of stealing their jokes. Others turn their peers over to the social media mob for sharing the “wrong” jokes.
And, when a prominent comedian got caught spreading lies disguised as hard truths, his fellow comics didn’t hold back.
Consider Hasan Minhaj, the former “Patriot Act” host who built his brand on incredible stories about racism, bigotry and other “systemic” flaws in America. Except many of those stories weren’t true, revealed in a powerful New Yorker expose.
They may be “emotionally” true, but not in any real sense. Or, you can simply call them lies. That’s what Andrew Schulz and fellow comedians mocked recently.
Now, it’s Bill Maher’s turn.
The “Real Time with Bill Maher” host skewered Minhaj for his embellishments, connecting the dots between his lies and the “emotional truths” peddled as facts in the real world.
Maher opened by aggressively name-checking President Donald Trump, a bid to keep his fellow liberals paying attention.
He quickly segued to Minhaj, who likely lost his “Daily Show” hosting gig thanks to The New Yorker investigation.
Or, as Maher called him, “The comedian who answers the question, ‘what if Jussie Smollett did stand up?'” he said, riffing on the former “Empire” star convicted of perpetrating a fake hate crime to earn sympathy and more pay from his Fox employers.
“If you have to fabricate the stories of your mistreatment, isn’t that itself a comment on where we are now?” Maher asked. It’s a question that stretches across a sea of racial hoaxes seen over the culture in recent years.
“If you’re gonna speak truth to power, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say you have to include the ‘truth’ part,'” Maher quipped.
Then things got personal, which may have provoked Maher into covering MinhajGate in the first place.
Maher said Minhaj once accused him of wanting Muslims to be put into internment camps.
“That’s something I’ve never come close to thinking, let alone saying,” Maher said. “And it’s an odd thing to say considering this show is recorded with cameras and an audience.”
It’s possible Maher was referring to a 2015 Minhaj podcast interview.
Minhaj called Maher an “Islamophobe” on “The Dean Obeidallah Show.” adding Maher’s bigotry helped him land a job on “The Daily Show.”
Minhaj claimed that Comedy Central liked his audition tape but wanted him to record a new segment as a follow-up.
Enter Bill Maher. Allegedly.
“Islamophobes run like clockwork. Racist people tend to be racist right on time when you need them. They’re the gift that keeps on giving,” Minhaj told the podcast host.
“Bill Maher did what he usually did, he was super smug and said, ‘oh, you believe in God you’re an idiot,’ applause break on the show. This time, he was like … guys, we should put [Muslims] in internment camps. We should lock them up. They are a threat.”
That was too much for the hard-Left Obeidallah, who tried to reframe Minhaj’s comments as a “slight exaggeration.”
“This is a slight exaggeration. he didn’t say this literally,” Minhaj said in a very minor backpedal.
Maher is a world-famous atheist who made a movie about his beliefs – 2008’s “Religulous.”
Later in the “Real Time” segment, Maher evoked President Trump anew, showing a clip where the future president claimed he saw “thousands and thousands” of people cheering the 9/11 attacks from Jersey City rooftops.
Minhaj has inadvertently captured the Trumpian zeitgeist, Maher argued, and he wasn’t being complimentary.
“It’s all about getting to the truth, man, and what better way to that than by lying,” Maher said. “There’s enough real racism in the world that making up more doesn’t help.”
A 2015 New York Times interview with Minhaj takes on a fresh, disturbing twist given recent revelations. Here, he explains how he injects real stories into his stand-up routines.
I’ve changed names and truncated these events. That way, people don’t turn this into a murder mystery. We live in a very weird time where everyone is an Internet sleuth. I got a call from my local newspaper, and they started asking me questions: “Is Mr. G so and so?” It really hurt me because I felt like they were trying to go on a racist witch hunt.
Or, to be less generous, he didn’t want strangers to do what The New Yorker just did.