Henny Youngman didn’t want us to actually “take” his wife.
The legendary comic used the phrase to make us smile. He was married to Sadie Cohen for 58 years until her death in 1981.
Similarly, the late Norm Macdonald’s 2016 tome, “Based on a True Story: Not a Memoir,” famously fused real life with the comedian’s ripe imagination.
Long story short? Comics lie for a living, and we expect nothing less.
That hasn’t stopped a new wave of comedy where stand-ups use real headlines to support their comic narratives. “The Daily Show” famously did that for years, spawning an industry of “fake news” programs where hosts spin laughs from the latest headlines.
What Hasan Minhaj of Netflix’s “Patriot Act” fame got caught doing is different.
So Hasan Minhaj:
a. smeared an old friend as a racist
b. gave enough identifiable details that she got online hate
c. when told about, shrugged it off and kept doing the routine, and told her to scrub her social media pic.twitter.com/vPRRQvcEu2
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) September 15, 2023
New Yorker Magazine dug into some of the stories the far-Left comedian has been spinning for some time. Turns out many of the tales are tall, not truthful.
The headline calls them his “emotional truths,” and it’s hard not to recall Dan Rather’s “fake, but accurate” defense when his hit piece against President George W. Bush imploded weeks before a presidential election.
The magazine went through many of Minhaj’s heartfelt stories, told on stand-up stages, TV and interviews. They mostly dealt with discriminatory behavior leveled at either him or fellow minorities.
And they weren’t true.
Most disturbing, he tells the story of a letter sent to his home which was filled with white powder. The contents accidentally spilled onto his young daughter. The child was rushed to the hospital.
It never happened, and he told the story both on stage and in interviews.
Why would the comedian tell so many fake stories? Consider how many race hoaxes we’ve seen in recent years.
The goal is the same. To make America appear more racist than it actually is and support efforts to right fictional wrongs. It’s also a living, and apparently a very good one for Minhaj.
It’s also steeped in his progressive politics.
Another tall tale exposed by the investigation humiliated Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law. That, too, never happened.
For now, Minhaj is standing by his “truths.”
“Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth,” he said. “My comedy Arnold Palmer is seventy per cent emotional truth—this happened—and then thirty per cent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
That may change as more media pressure is applied to him and fellow comics weigh in on the story.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the story is that it came out at all. Today’s journalists routinely protect liberal celebrities, when possible. They’d rather ignore their mistruths than cover them, especially if they align with progressive narratives relating to Identity Politics or Climate Change.
The latter is why the press doesn’t dress down eco-activist Leonardo DiCaprio for his raging hypocrisy.
Not only did New Yorker thoroughly vet Minhaj’s jokes, other media outlets quickly picked up on the story. That suggests the comedian has made a few enemies over the years and reporters pounced on the investigation to settle some scores.
Just a theory, of course. It’s still odd how swiftly the article went viral.
Previously, several members of the “Patriot Act” crew alleged a hostile work environment thrived on the short-lived talk show.
The comic says his “Patriot Act” showcase ensured that facts came first, always. Except that appears to be misleading, too. Again, New Yorker magazine:
According to former “Patriot Act” employees, members of the research department felt that Minhaj could be dismissive of the fact-checking process. “[Minhaj] just assembled people around him to make him appear different and much smarter and more thoughtful,” a female researcher said. “But those people—the smart people and hardworking people—were treated poorly for bringing the perspective that he is celebrated for.”
None of this should be surprising.
The mainstream media today isn’t just biased. It’s corrupt. Reporters routinely fete late-night satirists like Stephen Colbert, ignoring if and when their jokes spread misinformation.
Remember three-plus years of Russian collusion gags?
Minhaj may have been caught blurring the lines between comedy and the truth too much for comfort. It’s likely his peers will be able to say whatever they want without future fact checks.
why do people lie about discrimination and racial violence in this country? this guy makes a lot of money off it. What do you guys think?https://t.co/KHwp17Ept2
— Joe Gabriel Simonson (@SaysSimonson) September 15, 2023