"Comedian" crafts the myth of the 21st century on Netflix
This story really is nuts
Stand-up comedy fucking sucks. I’ve seen a few funny performances and I’m sure there are some modern comedians who do it well (I really enjoyed Sam Hyde reading off the planned skits for World Peace 2 shortly after his Adult Swim series was cancelled) but I really don’t know how people watch most of the shit that gets shoveled onto streaming services, much less pay for it.
A lot of it today seems like a sermon, where the political views of the audience are spoon-fed back at them. Emotional stories, which aren’t funny at all, are inserted to shame or validate the audience members. It really is bizarre to watch these rituals and the emotional performances they provoke from viewers.
I had never heard of Hasan Minhaj before I read the article on him just released in the New Yorker. I guess maybe I had seen the name, he just blends in with the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of similar dead-eyed comedians who I’m sure all have podcasts with 100k+ subscribers and Netflix specials where they talk about how much they hate white people and want to kill conservatives who are anti-vax. I don’t watch any of this stuff.
According to the New Yorker, Minhaj is quite successful. His Netflix show Patriot Act won several Emmys. He was a writer on political “comedy” shows like Last Week Tonight and The Daily Show. He even recently did an extended interview with President Barack Obama, a formless husk who I sometimes forget even existed.
Much of Minhaj’s comedy acts came from relaying his personal experiences. As an Indian Muslim, Minhaj claimed to have experienced decades of racism and cruelty from ignorant Americans. These stories weren’t really comedy, although they sometimes include some half-hearted jokes. They were supposed to provoke an emotional response from the audience, that confirms and shapes their political views.
The problem is, many of these stories were fake. These lies go well beyond the artistic license expected from comedians. Here are some examples of fabrications Minhaj included in his standup acts:
Claiming that he was sent white powder that he and his wife believed was anthrax as a threat, causing them to rush their young daughter to the hospital after she was exposed (Minhaj admitted the story was fake, though claimed he once received white powder and joked that it might be anthrax)
Claiming that he was almost entrapped by federal agents infiltrating his mosque after the 9/11 attacks, only for Minhaj to recognize the undercover agent’s intent and mess with him by saying incriminating things, which led to Minhaj being roughed up by the police (this was completely made up, though Minhaj claimed it was based off being fouled during a basketball game with middle aged white men who he assumed were undercover cops [lol])
Claiming to have set up an interview with the Saudi Arabian embassy about him speaking with Mohammed bin Salman. Minhaj claimed the meeting quickly became hostile and then immediately after the meeting news broke of the Saudi killing of media figure Jamal Khashoggi, causing his wife and coworkers to be relieved that he didn’t go through with the interview of bin Salman (Minhaj’s meeting actually occurred a month before Khashoggi was killed)
These lies were strange, but at least served Minhaj’s political purposes. He was a vocal critic of President Trump, especially Trump’s immigration policy and hard line against Islamic terrorism. Other lies were much more bizarre and reveal the heart of Minhaj’s motivations.
In particular, in one of his stand-up shows he detailed how he was friends with a white girl and the pair had a secret romance, which had to be hidden due to racism. Minhaj said that he asked her out to prom, and she agreed but then rejected him in a humiliating way the night of the dance. Her bigoted parents were concerned about what others would think.
That story ended up completely fake, too. It turned out that, although the pair were friends, they were never romantic and she had rejected him several days before the prom actually occurred. She wasn’t racist, in fact, her husband was Indian just like Minhaj is. He resented her for rejecting him in high school, carried around a 20-year-grudge, and then repeatedly smeared her in front of millions of people.
Minhaj was particularly vindictive towards this woman. When he was just entering the mainstream, he invited her to one of his shows where he recounted his fake version of the story calling her racist. He even used pictures of her and gave out personal details that made her easy to identify. The woman was doxxed and harassed by Minhaj’s fans for years. When she confronted him over this, he blew her off and refused to change the act.
I don’t read the New Yorker often but this story is really crazy. I obviously don’t like Minhaj’s politics, but he just comes across as psychotic and vindictive. There are a lot of nutcases like this involved in radical leftist politics.
Probably the most revealing aspect of this controversy is that Minhaj is totally unapologetic for lying. In fact, he refuses to even admit that his stories were lies. Instead, he claims they were “emotionally true.” When the New Yorker journalist pressed Minhaj about this, reminding him that the stories were not true in any sense, Minhaj replied:
I think what I’m ultimately trying to do is highlight all of those stories. Building to what I think is a pointed argument.
And that’s what it is all about. He hates America and Americans, and even if the lies he makes up about white people or Trump or whoever aren’t true, it’s justified in the long arc of history. Minhaj is a victim-hero of our new country. He’s brown, oppressed, has millions of dollars, and everyone talks about how smart he is when he makes stuff up. His targets are evil. They’re on the wrong side of history. Everything against them is permissible. I believe him when he says that he doesn’t see what he did as lying. Why would he?
Anyway, I strongly recommend reading the article. The author, Clare Malone, deserves a medal. Minhaj seems like he’s a very powerful behind-the-scenes figure in the entertainment industry. Who knows how many other stories included in his comedy specials are just completely fake but simply couldn’t be checked? There are a lot of figures like Minhaj, with the same dull indignant attitude towards Americans. They shape modern American culture and get enormous support from the powers at be. They’re also completely crazy and something needs to be done to prevent them from having any influence on society.
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