Victimhood has been pretty good to Hasan Minhaj.
The Muslim comic is touring the country, hitting venues bigger than your average Laugh Factory or Chuckle Hut. He’s playing at the Buell Theater in Denver Nov. 10, and tickets range from $49 to $666.
Minhaj’s shtick is simple. He peddles progressive talking points in his act, including many stories that depict America as a deeply racist nation.
For that he’s been granted a Netflix comedy series (“Patriot Act”), movie roles and a gig emceeing the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Turns out many of Minhaj’s stories are flat-out false. We learned that via a shocking New Yorker expose that fact-checked his most notorious tales. The comedian defended himself, saying he was sharing “emotional” truths.
AKA Fake, but accurate.
Comedians often bend the truth or make stories up out of whole cloth. Minhaj took that creative license to a new, creepy level, and even the mainstream media called him out for it.
Fellow comics weighed in, too, noting the obvious difference between a stand-up’s typical material and a comedian manufacturing fake stories to boost their progressive bona fides.
Now, Minhaj’s is starting to suffer some consequences.
Variety reports the comedian is no longer the front-runner to replace Trevor Noah as host of “The Daily Show.” Noah left the basement-rated series in 2022. Since then, Comedy Central has used a series of progressive guest hosts in an unofficial competition to find Noah’s replacement.
Minhaj checks two vital boxes for the liberal comedy network. He’s a person of color and a progressive. The channel’s suits didn’t seem to mind that his Netflix series didn’t gain enough traction to reach the two-year mark on the streaming giant.
The decision appears to come in the wake of a recent report in The New Yorker in which some of the supposedly autobiographical stories that Minhaj has used in his routines were found to be embellished.
That’s fancy talk for, “he made stuff up. A lot of stuff.” And it wasn’t just jokes he told on stages across the country. He shared some of the same stories in interview settings.
“How do you do comedy when you’re getting death threats? So many people have told me, ‘Oh man, you’re so brave for what you’ve done — as long as you don’t die. This is the best thing that could have happened to your career.’ I’m like, ‘Dude I’m not trying to be comedy’s Tupac. I’m not trying to just die for these jokes. I want to live to see these retweets.'”
One Minhaj lie had real-world consequences. Minhaj repeatedly told the story of his potential prom date changing her mind thanks to her racist parents. She was white. He was Indian-American and, therefore, unacceptable to her family.
It never happened.
Even worse? The woman in question went on to marry an Indian-American. That didn’t stop her family from receiving death threats thanks to Minhaj’s routine which proved specific enough that some fans learned who he was talking about.
Comedy Central also ignored another problematic part of the comedian’s past. Several “Patriot Act” employees claimed the show had a toxic work environment.
A lot of people have asked me to talk about Patriot Act. I avoided it because each time I relive the experience of being humiliated and gaslit, targeted and ignored, I sink back into days of depression. Tweeting this will probably not help me or anyone who has suffered.
— nur nasreen (@Nuri_ibrahim) August 20, 2020
The lying scandal proved too big to ignore, apparently.
“The Daily Show” pretends to have a strong news element built into its comic DNA. That’s farcical on its face, given the show’s relentless liberal bias and cherry-picked news clips. Relaunching the show with a known fabricator proved the proverbial bridge too far for Comedy Central.
Minhaj still has his profitable tour to fall back on. We’ll have to wait and see if his fans turn on him next.