- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Hasan Minhaj would like you to hear his side of things.
So the Patriot Act host produced a “deep dive” video, which our sister site The Hollywood Reporter published Thursday, that addresses his embellishment of stories told in his past stand-up comedy specials. Those stories came to the fore in a New Yorker article, published in September, in which he was quoted as saying, “My comedy Arnold Palmer is 70% emotional truth — this happened — and then 30% hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
More from TVLine
The vignettes in question — one about being rejected by his prom date because of the color of his skin, another about an FBI informant who infiltrated his family’s mosque in 2002 and a third about how Minhaj’s young daughter needed to go to the hospital after someone sent an envelope of white powder to their apartment — raised the question about how much creative license can or should be taken when relating stories in a stand-up format.
In his initial response to the story in September, Minhaj said in a statement, “I use the tools of standup comedy — hyperbole, changing names and locations, and compressing timelines to tell entertaining stories. That’s inherent to the art form… You wouldn’t go to a haunted house and say ‘Why are these people lying to me?’ The point is the ride. Standup is the same.”
About a month after the New Yorker article ran, Puck News reported that former The Daily Show correspondent Minhaj was out of the running to succeed Trevor Noah as the Comedy Central series’ host, though he’d been the frontrunner before the controversy erupted.
In the new video, Minhaj alleges that The New Yorker‘s profile — written by Clare Malone, to whom the comedian does not refer by name — contained “omissions and factual errors” that “misrepresented my life story, so I wanted to give people the context and materials I provided The New Yorker with full transparency.”
Ahead of the video’s appearance on THR, a New Yorker spokesperson told the site: “This piece was carefully reported and fact-checked, and includes Hasan Minhaj’s perspective at length. We can’t comment on the specifics of his claims having not seen the video.”
TVLine has reached out to The New Yorker for comment now that the video is public. UPDATE: Malone posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday at statement that reads: “Hasan Minhaj confirms in this video that he selectively presents information and embellishes to make a point: exactly what we reported. Our piece, which includes Minhaj’s perspective at length, was carefully reported and fact-checked. It is based on interviews with more than 20 people, including former Patriot Act and Daily Show staffers; members of Minhaj’s security team; and people who have been the subject of his standup work, including the former F.B.I. informant “Brother Eric” and the woman at the center of his prom-rejection story. We stand by our story.”
“To everyone who read that article,” Minhaj says in the video, “I want to answer the biggest question that’s probably on your mind: Is Hasan Minhaj secretly a psycho? Underneath all that pomp, is Hasan Minhaj just a con artist who uses fake racism and Islamophobia to advance his career? Because after reading that article, I would also think that.”
His defense involves emails between himself and the woman at the center of his prom-rejection story, as well as what is presented as an unedited audio recording of his conversation with Malone. He also distinguishes between his political comedy (like the type he did on Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj) and his “storytelling” comedy, in which “I assumed the lines between truth and fiction were allowed to be a bit more blurry.”
He also suggested that Malone should have “established a control group” of standup specials before singling him out for embellishing/conflating details in his.
“The guy in this article is a proper f–king psycho,” he says toward the end of the video, “but I now hope you feel like the real me is not.”
Watch Minhaj’s video in full, then hit the comments with your thoughts.
Best of TVLine